By Denise D. Resnik, Matt’s mom; To students at GateWay Community College, who have welcomed differently abled adults on campus through the First Place Transition Academy, allowing our First Place students to benefit from campus life and life skills classes while also benefitting from employment opportunities and a supportive culture.

To employers that are opening doors more easily and broadly, recognizing the skills and abilities of individuals with autism and other special needs, and bringing out goodness and kindness in co-workers.

To customers who learn about SMILE Biscotti and become enthusiastic promoters, helping us spread the word that individuals with autism are productive, contributing members of our community.

To the families who walk through the doors at SARRC, entering as overwhelmed, worried strangers and leaving as friends empowered with resources, support and, most importantly, hope.

To the grocery store shopper in aisle 10, who volunteered to rummage through my purse for Matt’s seizure medication when he fell into my arms during last week’s grand mal seizure, easing the stress of a very stressful situation.

No longer are we strangers. We are moms, dads, neighbors, friends, employers and communities working together to write new history for how adults with autism and other special abilities are paving the way for our society to be more aware, accepting and engaged –giving us all more reasons to smile.

Please join us in spreading holiday cheer this season through your acts of kindness, compassion and sharing.