By Samantha Benoit, a SkillCorps member on the Indonesia March 2016 trip

From day one I was blown away with unexpected surprises. I anxiously walked into orientation and was instantly greeted by a young man dressed in office attire who I did not recognize and a few women who I did recognize from the SkillCorps website.  Later on I realized that the gentleman, along with a couple more men working at the office (ranging from the ages of 28-33), actually had autism and were EMPLOYEES of the Global Autism Project. After engaging in conversation with them I realized “This is it!” This is why I work so hard with my clients, who currently range from the ages 4-6. This is what I strive for them to be. Working in a suit and tie, and being socially accepted as equal individuals! I would say meeting Alex, Rusty, and Edwin was an inspiring way to start this journey. They are 3 guys I will never forget!

After our two-day orientation, we arrived at the airport early in the morning. I go to check in and end up being denied a boarding pass due to passport issues. I was devastated that I may not be able to travel with my team and letting all my donors down. But I was supported 110% by my teammates and staff of the Global autism Project! We managed to get a new passport within 6 hours and get me on a late night flight to Jakarta! Little did I know I would be reunited with the rest of my team in Dubai due to their own layover issues! Everything seemed to be going wrong but in fact they were all gifts in disguises.

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Nevertheless we made it to Indonesia and finally met with the fantastic staff of the Hi5 centre. I’m so glad we get to help such a hard-working organization! We have worked on programming, parent training, networking, marketing, and so much more in just 2 weeks! They’ve shown so much improvement in confidence, demonstrated their skills, presented, and demonstrated their vision and ideas. I know these children are in good hands. They are passionate about their work and eager to learn! Thank you Global Autism Project for helping me connect with all these remarkable humans!

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