Published in Contra Costa Times
May 13, 2014
Rosten Murakami is a huge Oakland A’s baseball fan and was thrilled when he was recently invited to an A’s game sponsored by Autism Speaks.
“We worked in a booth and talked to people about autism, and then we got to watch the Oakland A’s game,” Rosten commented. “I would definitely do this again, it’s a great community service idea,” he continued. The event was held in conjunction with Autism Awareness Month and part of a nationwide effort to generate awareness about autism.
Rosten has been diagnosed with Asperger’s, a form of autism. He is a third year student at CIP Berkeley, a national post secondary program that supports young adults age 18-26 with autism, Asperger’s and other learning differences as they transition to college and the workplace. Rosten is currently working towards a certificate program in music technology at San Francisco State University.
Aaron Kirschenbaum, also attended the A’s event. “It’s really good to talk to people and let them know about us,” he commented. “Society believes that autistic people don’t have language skills, but there are some of us that have high reading skills and are incredibly verbal,” he continued. Aaron is pursuing an AA degree at Berkeley City College in California.
CIP operates 6 year round programs and 12 summer programs across the country. This year, students at each Center chose autism related charities to support during Autism Awareness month by volunteering in their local communities.
CIP Amherst students from New York volunteered at an autism awareness walk event in Getzville,sponsored by Summit Educational Services. The pouring rain did not deter the students as they held directional signs and provided general assistance.
In Bloomington, CIP students pitched in at the Owen County Community Transition Fair in Indiana. Students practiced teamwork and social skills as they solicited sponsors, assembled gift bags, served refreshments and passed out popcorn. The event was well attended and students are now looking forward to more outreach opportunities.
Tess Granberg is a student at CIP Long Beach where she and several students volunteered at a Chalk Art Festival in Covina sponsored by Autism Movement Therapy. “We grated chalk, mixed it into paint and helped people create cool paintings,” she commented. “It was a neat opportunity to learn more about teamwork, and help a good cause at the same time.”
In Florida, CIP Brevard students participated in several Autism Awareness events including the Cycle Jam for Kids; a ride benefiting SCIEC, a preschool where students with autism receive instruction in inclusive programs with their typically developing peers. CIP students served lunch to hungry riders at Cycle Jam and also volunteered for Aces for Autism, a tennis clinic for children 5-15 with autism and their siblings. “The FIT Scott Center’s Aces for Autism event was the perfect ending for all of our Autism Awareness efforts,” commented Jennifer Kolarik Lead Career Coordinator at CIP.
CIP Announces New President
After 30 years of leadership, CIP Founder Dr. Michael McManmon has recently named his son Dan McManmon as his successor. Dan has assumed the role of President and oversees all programs from CIP’s Pittsfield, Massachusetts headquarters.
“Dan brings strong values, unique life experiences and skills to CIP,” commented Dr. McManmon. “I share Dan’s confidence with the continued success of CIP in the years ahead,” he stated. "Dan's nine years at CIP gives him a well-rounded view and shared vision of our programs".
CIP is celebrating it’s 30th Anniversary this year. “This is an exciting time for us,” commented Dan McManmon. “We currently have record enrollment numbers and we’re undergoing expansions at several locations,” he remarked. “Our continuing mission is to make sure our students receive the comprehensive, cutting edge services they need to help ensure their success,” he stated.
With the CDC reporting that the incidence of autism now affects 1 in 68 young people, the need for services for young adults like Rosten and others on the autism spectrum is skyrocketing. Many of these young people require comprehensive support as they transition to college, the workplace and independence. Currently, the unemployment rate for adults on the autism spectrum hovers around 85%.
“Living with Asperger’s or autism is not easy,” Rosten remarked. “You get picked on as a kid growing up; you cannot explain why you do things. But with the help of autism charities and organizations like CIP that help us, I am able to work toward my dream; a career in the audio industry.”
For more information about CIP and their programs, visit http://www.cipworldwide.org.