July 22, 21

Minutes of Rotary Meeting
July 22, 2021
By Kathy Miller

Call to Order: The meeting was called to order by Garrett Williamson, President-Elect of the Rotary Club of Mobile, at 12:00 p.m.

Invocation, Song and Pledge: Buz Wilcoxon gave the invocation and Larry Sindel led the song and Pledge of Allegiance.

Announcements: Ernest Ladd announced that the Tarpon Tournament is scheduled for August 7th. Garrett announced member birthdays this week.

Program: Frank Harkins introduced Julia Starr, Executive Director of The CORE Project, Inc. Ms. Starr explained that CORE stands for Creating Opportunities Reaching Everyone. The program serves children on the autism spectrum as well as those with other developmental and intellectual disabilities. Mrs. Starr, who is from Trussville, Alabama, has four children, two of whom have special needs. She noted at the beginning of the program that children are being diagnosed with autism faster than support for them can be created and that the rate of diagnosis has more than doubled in the last five years. She outlined the economic impacts on families, including the costs of caring for the children, which increases in conjunction with the extent of the intellectual disability and of mothers being less likely to be able to work outside the home or working fewer hours. It is estimated that medical expenses for children with autism are more than four times higher than average.

CORE was founded with the principle that it should “Be The Change.” CORE is purpose-driven, mission-based and vision-focused. CORE’s founders recognize the need to serve all individuals with autism in a way that is specialized for each child and to serve the support system that surrounds each child. CORE seeks to provide help and hope where there is little by creating quality educational opportunities, fostering ongoing critical support networks and optimizing community care. CORE seeks to move from “labeling” to living and to provide a continuum of care with seamless transitions including year-round education, collaborative onsite medical and ancillary therapy services, adult day services, respite care and residential facilities. Projects include the CORE Clinic, the CORE Academy, the CORE Life Program, which includes job skills training, and CORE Respite, which provides support for parents. Ms. Starr also spoke on autism in adulthood and pointed out that over the next decade, an estimated 700,000 to 1,116,000 teens will enter adulthood and age out of school-based autism services, that more than half of young adults with autism remain unemployed and unenrolled in higher education and that nearly half of 25 year olds with autism have never held a paying job. She described the CORE Life Program and examples of training opportunities for potential employees, seeking out what children with autism want to do. After Ms. Starr answered questions from members, Garrett presented her with a Certificate of Appreciation for speaking to the Club.

Closing Remarks and Adjournment: Garrett announced the program for next week and adjourned the meeting at 1:00 p.m.

Kathy Miller
Contributing Editor

1275457