Teen’s Huddle Together to Build Autism Awareness, Acceptance and Support

The Teen Huddle is a small circle of friends making a big impact by generating autism awareness and acceptance among teens. The 2020 Members: Esha Salian, Marissa Kautzman, Sarhad Shehab, Drew Higginbotham, Miranda Amezaga, Faith Varma, Ashwini Anupindi, Azahra Maharani, Urvi Basu, Georgia Moore, Nawal Shabib, April Houston, Kennedy Joseph and Stephanie Wickstrand.

A group of about 25 teen volunteers makeup Hope For Three’s Teen Huddle program with a mission to, “increase autism awareness and acceptance among teens.” Traditionally, they provide two bi-monthly programs to local families, Parents Time Out and Sibling Sessions. These programs offer a well-deserved respite for parents with children on the spectrum and bonding time for siblings in similar circumstances.

Teen Huddle is a key part of Hope For Three’s advocacy and education mission. This group of honorable teens and upstanding community citizens are looking for new members and will open its application process online on March 29th.

“Candidates best for this program are highly interpersonal, enthusiastic and open-minded,” said program co-chair Faith Varma. “Flexibility is also often necessary when working with children on the spectrum, as things don’t always go as planned.”

The Teen Huddle knows the need for flexibility all too well. Under pandemic conditions, the group has had to limit how they conduct the Parents Time Out and Sibling Sessions; however, they haven’t lost focus on their mission.

The co-chairs explained that due to the lack of face-to-face interaction with fellow Teen Huddle Members, the leadership now requires members to attend Teen Huddle bonding events and activities hosted either virtually or in-person when possible. These events encourage close-knit friendships, vital when working with children on the spectrum.

“Teamwork, willingness to learn and enthusiasm are just a few of the many necessary skills needed to be a member of this esteemed organization,” said co-chair Esha Salian.

The application process includes an online form, a recommendation letter and an interview. Applications for the 2021-2022 school year will be available on the Hope For Three website at www.hopeforthree.org/programs/teen-huddle starting March 29th.

To learn more about Hope For Three programs, services and resources, visit www.hopeforthree.org.