The goal for Helping Hands Art and Exercise is multi-faceted: to learn, explore, meet new people, and promote health and wellness. Additionally, it hopes to raise awareness for artists with autism and other developmental disabilities.
Helping Hands Art and Exercise envisions a world in which each human being is respected and embraced for their unique and special gifts and celebrated for their ability to perceive the world with a different yet remarkable eye.
The Howell PAL has been in existence for over thirty years providing recreational and educational programs to the youth of Howell and the surrounding communities and is proud to include programing for special needs individuals.
“AT HOWELL PAL WE BELIEVE IN INCLUSION NOT EXCLUSION."
If you are interested in becoming a Peer Mentor with teens and young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, please contact us.
It is an invaluable experience that will make a positive difference in both your life and someone else's.
Over the past 7 years many of our volunteer Peer Mentors have been inspired to pursue careers working with special needs individuals.
Colleges have awarded scholarships based on Peer Mentors' community service hours earned in our program.
Read how the program has affected some of our Peer Mentors. Volunteers are often surprised to realize that the students have made a greater impact on them than they ever thought possible!
"Hitting close to home, the program was special from the beginning. Coming in, my volunteer hours would be filled with irreplaceable people who would show me what it meant to be dedicated."
"I began volunteering at Helping Hands while I was in high school in order to gain community service hours, and I am now attending college studying special education. Through Helping Hands I had the opportunity to meet mentors and artists that impacted my decision to pursue a career in education and I am thankful I took the initial step in attending my first class, as from that day forward I looked forward to attending class every Saturday. "
(Toni was awarded a scholarship to Monclair College for her community service hours!)
“My Saturday mornings are filled with wonderful people because of Helping Hands, I truly have gained an overall greater perspective and understanding of others."
"Helping with this class; interacting with them and watching them interact with each other, has changed the way that I interact on a daily basis."
We offer a great class and we like to think we do it right.
But, don’t just take our word for it, our family's give us rave reviews!
Thank you for supporting Sarah's artistic endeavors and allowing her the freedom to express herself through her art. Art will always be part of Sarah's life, and YOU have given us confidence that Sarah has a future with her art.
P. Redding May 2015
Thank You So Much for all that you do! Johnny loves going to Helping Hands every Saturday. He was so proud of his last picture when he presented it to me. Because of you, he is more focused on his work. You truly are a blessing!
B. Covello May 2015
I don't know what Dylan would have done without this program. We appreciate you for giving these gifted young adults a chance in life when no one else would. As talented as these autistic adults are, there was no one who helped them to continue to keep learning about art. You have given my grandson hope and have encouraged him to pursue his love for the arts and that someone does care. Without you and this program I don't know where we would be right now. Thank you so much. Know that Dylan and I appreciate you and all the volunteers who help them.
M. White May 2015
Thomas has been attending Helping Hands Art since the inception of the program. He looks forward to going to Helping Hands Art and really enjoys each session. Helping Hands Art has helped Thomas discover his artistic talents, interact better with his peers and make new friends. The instructors do a great job and the student volunteers are quite helpful. Also, the addition of the exercise segment to the program was a great idea. In summary, it’s a wonderful program run by knowledgeable and caring instructors.
K. Doherty October 2014
Glen has always been a joy and an inspiration for me. Such innocence in a very deep thinker. He certainly has his times, but most of the time he is smiling and has the purest of hearts. I give my daughter so much credit, as well as his educators that helped him be all he can be. He always spoke so highly of his teachers in his art class. I know how proud he felt when his family went to look at his art projects! I have the greatest respect for the work that you all do !
L. Kramerman Keller Sept 2014
Who is Helping Hands Art?
Helping Hands Art and More was created by three women with over 40 years combined experience in special education. The idea was borne from seeing one of our graduating students struggle to find meaning and a purpose in his life after high school. He had been a graduate for months and still had not found a replacement that he enjoyed as much as his high school experience. This heightened our awareness to the very limited opportunities for the 21 and above population. As cooperating instructors in a high school autism program, we had heard this repeatedly in the many workshops we have attended, but it did not truly resonate until we saw it happen to one of our own. Our students shift from a full seven to nine hour day filled with art, exercise, socialization, structure, and meaning in school, to one which lacks everything that has become such an important piece of who they are. With Helping Hands Art and More, we have created a meaningful opportunity for young adults transitioning to full-time life in the community and for adults who would simply like to try something new.
Christine Baier-Kenduck, Colleen Hordichuk, Lori Alexander