Crowning Connections: Do What Other’s Won’t with SOS Care’s CEO Sarah Pope

Rob Clemons
Welcome to Crowning Connections with Rob Clemons. It is a very exciting day here because we’re getting a chance to talk about some community involvement and charity work and all these great things and I have a great person on the show. I’ve known this person for quite some time, does some great things with S.O.S. Care. Sarah Pope, welcome to the show.

Sarah Pope
Thank you.

Rob Clemons
Oh, man. I tell you what, I’ve seen you around the circuits for a long time. You get out there, you do a lot of great things. You lived in Myrtle Beach for a little while. How long have you been here for?

Sarah Pope
Oh, my goodness. 30 years.

Rob Clemons
30 years. Okay. That makes you a long time. Are here. Yes. You know, so. But you are finding more people who have lived here for a long time than you used to. When I moved here back in around the late nineties, you’d meet people and if they were here for, like, two or three years, that was a big deal.

Sarah Pope
Yeah. Yeah. You know. Me? Yes.

Rob Clemons
Were you here long enough to see, like. Well, in 30 years? My gosh. I mean, what all has happened with the roads in 30 years? Remember, 544 used to be just one lane this way. One lane that way, for example.

Sarah Pope
Yeah, there was nothing here when I moved here. No. Barefoot Landing.

Rob Clemons
No Barefoot Landing. The Pavilion was still here.

Sarah Pope
Yes. Right. Yes. Okay. All right. And I live at River Oaks, which was a hunting or it was kind of something. It wasn’t even there was no neighborhood. Those two houses, as in the woods.

Rob Clemons
You were in the woods? Well, it looks a little different now. You know, we already spend this whole segment doing memories of Myrtle Beach. Would you like to do that?

Sarah Pope
All right.

Rob Clemons
Let’s scrap the whole plan? Well, this era it is great to have you on the show. We’re going to talk about us host here today. By the way, I saw this earlier, 2022 nonprofit of the year for the Chamber of Commerce.

Sarah Pope
It’s really, really cool.

Rob Clemons
So how did you do it? Were you out like I mean, did you did you have to go out and campaign to get the number one?

Sarah Pope
Oh, no, no. We have a lot of people that are following us. Vote for us. Yes. Our team does amazing things.

Rob Clemons
You guys are doing amazing stuff. And so let’s get into that. But before we get to that, tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get here? And and take us back to the beginning.

Sarah Pope
The beginning of time.

Rob Clemons
Back when this was a big bang. You’d have to sit through some of that stuff and go straight to when you were. Yes. All right.

Sarah Pope
So I went to school in England. That’s where I was born. And I was in college and I was studying social work. And my professor said, I have an internship for you. You’re going to work at the National Autistic Society. And I was like, Oh, that’s not what I was thinking. I wanted to work with Center Children and maybe in the Catholic charity kind of era, I’d never been around people with disabilities.

Rob Clemons
So were you planning on going in that field at all or was this is completely out of the blue?

Sarah Pope
Oh God no. I mean, I was I knew I was going to work with children in some way, but I’d never been around people with disabilities, so I didn’t know anything about that. So when he said that was my internship, I was a little nervous actually, and shouldn’t have said, I don’t think I want to do that. I don’t think you really have an option. So I went to the National Autistic Society in Kent in England, and it was a school. And I walked in and I was like, Oh wow. I had no idea. I’ve never seen children like this before playing on their own and doing sort of unusual things. And I was fascinated immediately and I just knew that was where I was supposed to be. And so I think I was about 18 at that time, and I’ve actually been in the field ever since. So that was that was my first exposure to children with disabilities.

Rob Clemons
That’s an incredible start. Let me ask you, did was this professor or were they already was that part of like this professors thing was the autistic community, if you will? Or was this just kind of a magical moment where he found this random thing that was the best fit for you?

Sarah Pope
Seems like it was sort of supposed to be random, but, you know, that’s probably not the case. Right?

Rob Clemons
Right, right.

Sarah Pope
It was in my plan. I didn’t know. But that was the moment where I was like, okay, this is what I am supposed to do forever. And then I read every book about autism. I volunteered every weekend. I, I just loved it. It was just became my entire focus of my life in. And then I’ve been in the field ever since.

Rob Clemons
Well, I mean you’re quite amazing.

Sarah Pope
Yeah. A long time ago.

Rob Clemons
Oh, come on now. I mean, I was I was doing the math. I was like, okay, 30 years ago, she came here when she was five. So she felt like 35 somewhere there.

Sarah Pope
Yes. Yes.

Rob Clemons
It’s is. Right. Okay. So as far as you’re in England at this point and by the way, I don’t know if you know my back story. I lived in England for three years. No, I was, you know, where Mildenhall and Lakenheath Air Force Base is just there.

Sarah Pope
I was just there.

Rob Clemons
No way. You’re just there.Oh, my gosh. What were you doing over there?

Sarah Pope
Oh, okay. All right, great debate. Like on the back of the base. I was just there, so I was listening to the planes taking off out of her window. Wow. And the national anthem at 4:00.

Rob Clemons
It’s so good. It’s so good. You know? You know, living on the Air Force bases and shout out to my military personnel who are listening to the show. We always have to you know, you’re going to have the morning time. I’ll wear the flag is going up in the nighttime. You’ll stop and do that. I love to institute that at my business here. What do you think?

Sarah Pope
I think you should. I think it’s completely fine.

Rob Clemons
I want the bugle and the whole nine yards.

Sarah Pope
I love it the right way. And I have a 4:00 sort of happy hour.

Rob Clemons
Yeah, right, exactly. You’re right. Right after that, you do your happy hour. This the way it works of so yeah. Good memories of England though. And we were in a place called Newmarket on it. You know, that was a little bit out there. So great place there. But so you go back, you’re in England and then you ended up coming over to the States. How did that happen?

Sarah Pope
I well, I used to do temp work in sort of group homes and things like that. And then in between I would travel because, you know, in Europe, lots of us like to throw a backpack on and head out. So I was I was in that sort of era. And so I traveled a lot of sort of been halfway around the world and back and ended up coming to America. And I met a family that I loved in Dallas, and I took care of their little guy. He was two and I ended up staying and then went back to school there and, um, sort of stayed in my field.

Rob Clemons
Okay. Wow, that’s, that’s really cool. Well, so what is it that speaks to you about this autism? Because obviously it did it hit you early and you’ve devoted your life to it. What is it that speaks to you so much?

Sarah Pope
Well, I think it’s just it’s such a unique kind of way of brain functions. And I’ve always been interested in behavior. And so the behavior is very interesting of people with autism. I seen how they function in the world. And, you know, a lot of times people with disabilities are not really in the forefront of people’s minds. And so becoming an advocate for people that couldn’t really always speak up for themselves was just something that I was very passionate about.

Rob Clemons
That’s very powerful. What about the families and you know, if you would, I’d love to get educated on this. You know, just because I believe that a lot of people are out there and maybe they don’t quite understand what’s happening. When do people typically find out that a child is autistic in their early childhood development?

Sarah Pope
Well, in South Carolina, we’re a little bit behind the times with getting diagnosed. It’s always hard to find a pediatrician, a developmental pediatrician that you can get into early enough and so diagnosis could be 18 months. But usually in South Carolina, it’s sometimes not until three or four years old. Wow. So we miss a lot of time for early intervention, which is really the key for sort of figuring out what to do and help your child early on.

Rob Clemons
If you’re a parent out there. And you know, and I hope you don’t mind me going into this, because I think it would be really interesting to know what kinds of signs might a parent see early on in a young, let’s say, that may have autism? Are there any ways for them to tell?

Sarah Pope
Yeah. So one of the things that people probably don’t know much about is something called joint attention, and it’s a very early sign. So a lot of times when you’re hanging out with your baby or your little kid like if something happens like an airplane goes by, most people are going to look and see that happening to get their joint attention to something that’s happening in the environment. That doesn’t often happen with young babies and children that have autism. We often see repetitive kinds of behavior, so they might do odd things with toys that typical children don’t usually do. A lot of times we have delayed language or odd kind of language. Development and social skills look very different. So those are some of the the major signs we see early on.

Rob Clemons
Yeah, got you.

Sarah Pope
And then there’s different levels, of course, right?

Rob Clemons
Yeah.

Sarah Pope
It’s such a huge spectrum. And so some people, you know, are you see signs very early, some develop signs around 18 months or two years. We have that sort of scenario and then we have people that are getting diagnosed when they’re 30 years old. Wow. I didn’t really know that’s what was sort of happening with their brain. And they may be married and have business and have kids and realized that they hadn’t been functioning quite the same as other people but didn’t know why. And then they’re diagnosed sometimes, like late in life.

Rob Clemons
Yeah, very interesting. Yeah. Now, how do you how do you get to that point, though? Because what I’m hearing you describe it as somebody they’re going along and they’re just going about their life and then all of a sudden they find out that they are on some kind of a range. How does that even happen? Are you going to a doctor and they say, hey, I see something in you? Or do people sometimes are they already finding themselves trying to do other kinds of, I don’t know, concentration based medication or something like that? And then you find out that there’s something more to it?

Sarah Pope
Yeah. I think sometimes when people are older and they find out their son, they’re having trouble. They’re having trouble in relationships or they’re having trouble at work with social environments and things like that. And they don’t know why exactly, but they know they’re not doing life like other people and sometimes they end up going to counseling and counselors at that point can diagnose someone, you know, on the autism spectrum.

Rob Clemons
Yeah. Got you. What do you do at that point? I mean, from those people who are in that situation, what do you recommend?

Sarah Pope
Well, I think when they’re older, I mean, cognitive behavioral therapy is usually a good route to go. And then just clarifying sort of why you’re doing things the way you’re doing them and being able to work through that. I mean, we all work differently. All of our brains are different. We all have odd things we do or obsessive things we do or sensory things we do. So I think people just need to know that like it’s okay, we’re all a little bit different. And here’s how you can, you know, work on this part of your relationship or this issue you’re having at work and that kind of thing. So counseling is helpful for people that find out, you know, later in life.

Rob Clemons
Yeah. Well, that’s a great point. And I think it’s one of those things where, you know, it’s nothing to be ashamed of by any means. So it’s it’s good if you can at least diagnose it. I imagine that would be a positive. Well, so let’s talk S.O.S. How did that get started?

Sarah Pope
Well, S.O.S. was founded by Dr. Bill Davis in 1989. So a long time ago, he was a doctor that lived in Myrtle Beach, and he gave up his practice because he wanted to help the community. And he’s just one of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. Um, he is 86, I believe now. I just spoke with him yesterday. So we still talk every month or so and check in. But he did community surveys and he would find out what the needs are and he would develop a program based on the needs in the community. So S.O.S. has been many things before. It was really designed for people with disabilities. So okay, he helped start the care team, so he worked with people that had AIDS. He’s helped with communities that we are really in need of nursing and child care and medical attention and things like that. So he’s done multiple things in this area and then he would spin off the program into its own nonprofit, and then he would go back and do another community survey and and really look at what the needs were. Again at that time. So many organizations started because of his vision.

Rob Clemons
Wow. And he’s and so this started in Myrtle Beach that.

Sarah Pope
Yes. Wow.

Rob Clemons
So, so cool. Where’s he from originally?

Sarah Pope
I think he’s actually from North Carolina. He’s living in North Carolina right now. Very cool. And I think he’s actually from there. But he lived here for many years.

Rob Clemons
You know, I think more communities need this. You know, we need people who are ready to get out there and get active. Do you find many, I don’t know, young professionals who volunteer to just have some sort of a volunteer program or an internship program with us?

Sarah Pope
So, yes, we do. We love having interns. We have a lot of interns that join this from CCU at Georgetown Tech. And a lot of times they end up staying and working for us. So we really find that young people are very interested in our field of work and they have a great opportunity as an intern because we have so many different programs in this OS and then usually they end up staying.

Rob Clemons
So yeah, yeah. What kind of positions do you guys hire? I mean, obviously, you know that people want to hear about what kinds of things could you get involved with?

Sarah Pope
Well, one of the things that we hire coined a lot for this is probably our most in need of hiring, are registered behavioral technicians. And those are people that provide about therapy, which is our early intervention used to be early intervention. Now we’re providing it for older children too. But we have about 45 therapists that work for us, and they do individual therapy with children every day. So it’s very intensive therapy, sometimes 25, 30 hours a week, 1 to 1. And so we hire registered behavioral technicians for those positions fairly often. And then we have other positions, you know, in all that we have about 14 programs. And so often, you know, we grow a program and we need another person to come work there too. But we like people with behavioral training, and once they become a registered behavioral technician, it’s a credential that you can use anywhere, you know, in the country. It’s a it’s a nationwide credential. So it’s you can work with children, you know, with autism or disabilities in schools or private practice or, you know, for profit organizations, too, once you have that credential.

Rob Clemons
Wow. So cool. So cool. Very, very good to hear people are still getting in that field. I know it’s always you know, you wonder where people are funding their interest. You know, certain industries have a hard time hiring certain positions. It seems to me that people and you tell me what your thoughts are, but it feels like people are more and more giving in the modern society. I feel like people want to get more involved. Gen Z, Young Millennials, this is a big agenda is to get more involved in helping the community. Is this what you’re seeing out there?

Sarah Pope
It is, yeah. Most of the people that come to us to work in that particular area are usually younger. So you’re going to be sort of energetic to work with some of these children because they’re quite challenging. Yeah, you know, physical. So lots of moving around and chasing in playgrounds and running around after them and things like that.

Rob Clemons
So it’s it is a position that’s great for a person that’s younger. Yeah, good exercise, right?

Sarah Pope
Yeah. Right.

Rob Clemons
Yes, that is awesome. So on a personal level, what, what’s what’s your experience been with autism? I mean, you have some personal experience rather than just the business.

Sarah Pope
Yes. So my son my oldest son is 28 and he was born seemed to be a typical baby until he was about 18 months old and then lost all of his language and started doing the unusual, repetitive sort of play and started having a lot of tantrums that were a little more extreme than your typical child. And, um, I sort of knew right then that my kid was probably going to be diagnosed with autism, but I could not get anyone to, um, to agree to the diagnosis. So I took him to multiple doctors and they kept trying to talk me out of it. And eventually at four years old, he was diagnosed. It took a long time. It was sort of back. It was in the 1990s when it was a little harder to get a diagnosis. And um, so he’s 28 now and he’s a very interesting guy that has a lot of needs and he has a personal care as a person that comes to my house every day to work with him. So he is nonverbal and he has a lot of physical limitations as well. He has something called regressive catatonia, which is limited a lot of his movements. So he needs a lot of care. And then my other son just turned 21. I adopted him when he was five and he was already diagnosed with autism. He was a kid that was pretty neglected in his early life and exposed to a lot of things with, um, drugs and other sort of situational things that happened. So he had a pretty rough start. But, um, he’s doing pretty well right now. He volunteers at Brooklyn Gardens and he loves landscaping and taking care of the yard and the pool. He’s an outdoor kind of guy and just ordered his first beer, his 21. Okay. I thought that was the rule so that I did on his birthday. Yeah. He’s a rules man.

Rob Clemons
Is it? Does he enjoy beer?

Sarah Pope
You know, sometimes not really, no, not at all.But it was the rules that a lot of people with autism live by rules and Liam lives by rules. And the rule was when you turn 21, you’re supposed to drink alcohol, he thought, all right, so he ordered alcohol. And that’s what it was. And I was like, Well, okay, there you go. Cheers.

Rob Clemons
So, so cool, though, that he’s out there, know his work and stay and productive. And I think that’s a good message for, you know, parents right now. Right. Can you speak as as a parent, you know, you’ve devoted your life to it and maybe you’re more equipped than some parents. But can you can you talk to the parent who’s out there that feels like they’re they’re struggling? Maybe they’re even I don’t know, maybe feeling a little depressed in some way. You know, what would you say to that parent and what steps would you tell them to take?

Sarah Pope
Well, I think it’s really important to take respite, take a break, find someone that can help you with your child so that you can leave for periods of time. We provide a respite program at S.O.S., so that’s one of the ways people can do that. I also think it’s really important to have things that you’re interested in that are outside of autism because you can get really absorbed in just, yeah, 24 seven Thinking about autism, planning for autism, going to therapies, taking your kid to everything you can think of to do. And it’s exhausting. Um, spend time on the relationship that you’re in with your partner or your spouse because it’s very easy to get sidetracked on sort of everything else in your family and your other kids if you have them. Because the person with autism takes a lot more energy and time and effort and there’s a lot of things you have to do that you wouldn’t normally have to do if you were a typical parent of typical kids. And so, um, I also think it’s really important to find other people that are going through the same thing that you’re going through, which is sort of any issue in life really. But when you can talk with other people that understand and you can laugh and cry and do all the things you need to do, then I think that supports super helpful.

Rob Clemons
I think that’s amazing set of tips. And one of the things I like that you said there is you mentioned the other kids. You know, I think that’s probably, you know, sometimes well, you’re so focused in so much of your time goes to one kid maybe the other kid starts feeling like, you know, maybe in some way left out a little bit and there could be some effects of that. How can one get involved with, you know, if they’re listening to this today and they said, well, I’m going through some of that, I’d like to, you know, take advantage of a respite program and things. How do they get involved with that? With you?

Sarah Pope
Yeah, they can just Google us S.O.S. Care and then you can contact us on the website. So every program that we have has an application on the website, so you can electronically complete that. There’s several different programs that people can look at to see if that’s a fit for their child or the adult with the disability. And then they can call us our phone numbers on there, call us and we have an intake and sort of referral process. So when people call, we get them to the right person and make sure they get their questions answered and find the way to the right program.

Rob Clemons
Makes sense. Okay. All right. So okay, so let’s pick up from some things that you have that have been going on over the last few years. One of them being Oak Tree Farms, right? Yeah. Tell me about Oak Tree Farms.

Sarah Pope
Well, so we broke ground about two years ago and that’s when you guys were so generous and helped us with our roof or our transition house. And we’re so grateful that you were able to do that.

Rob Clemons
Glad to help, of course. But yes.

Sarah Pope
So the guys have five men with with disabilities have been living there for over a year. And we’ve just been just so really amazed at the progress they’ve made. So initially we were thinking, do we have a support person live with them or do we start off being as independent as we think we can be and just push supports in and and go there every day and make sure their son is doing okay and they can cook and they’re doing the grocery shopping and they’re going to work and all of those things. And so we ended up sort of pushing in services, you know, every day or so. And they have just sort of blown the wonder. I mean, we’re like, wow, how did they ever figure out how to problem solve all of these things on their own? And I see now that the less we were involved, the more that they stepped up and really made decisions on their own. And so that’s really been helpful in us training for the next group of people that are going to be going out there.

Rob Clemons
Was that part of the vision of Oak Tree Farms? I mean, like when you did this, were you thinking, well, this will be a nice side effect or was that just a surprise?

Sarah Pope
Well, I mean, we hoped that they would become as independent as they could be. And we knew we were training and working with them to do that. But they’re doing things that are beyond the expectations that we had. And, you know, I just see them immersed in the community, completely immersed in the community with things that they decided that they wanted to do on their own. And and they’re going out they’re going, you know, to trivia. And they’re at all the festivals in Conway and they’re in the running club and they have friends that are outside of our group of people that so as they’ve made friends in other areas and they’re doing all kinds of things in the community together and they’re just they really used each other’s strengths to sort of push their agenda forward and become more independent. And it’s just great watching them work as a team together, problem solving and getting out in the world. And so that was pretty a good, you know, for us like gauge of what we should be focusing on for the next group. The next group is very large, so we’re building three apartment buildings. We’re getting ready to start that. And then we will have 72 people then whoa, moving.

Rob Clemons
So so five in the first section. 72 is all right. I like it.

Sarah Pope
The timing was not quite how we had done it. We applied funding and one of the grants has taken two years to actually come to fruition. And so that that was supposed to be built like a year ago and then we would have built the next building, but it didn’t happen that way and it’s all coming together at the same time. And that’s okay because we’ll figure it out. But yes, so a lot of people will be moving at one time. So we’re providing training and classes right now for all of those people. They’re choosing their roommates. They’re deciding who’s going to live, where in which unit, and we’ll be moving. It’ll be like the first day of college where everyone moves in together and yeah, we figure it out.

Rob Clemons
So nice. So how did these people get selected or how did they get chosen, I guess to be in this?

Sarah Pope
So they go on the website first and then they fill out a survey to tell us they’re interested in Living Oak Tree Farm, and then there’s a more in-depth application process. So we find out a lot more details about them because it is fairly independent living. They have to be able to spend quite a few hours on their own and be able to, you know, provide themselves with some nutrition and activities and things like that. And so the, the application process is quite in-depth. And then we bring them in and we do an eight week training class and then we get to see them in small groups and they’re in groups of maybe eight. And we get to see how they work together and how they really are socially together and that kind of thing. So we can see if they’re paired up well or who they would best sort of be soon and with roommates and that kind of thing.

Rob Clemons
That’s great. So are they a certain age range? I mean, what kind of age range are you looking at?

Sarah Pope
Yeah, I mean, you have to be 18 to apply most of them are sort of in that 20 to sort of late 30 kind of age range. But we’ve got a couple that are a little bit outside of 40 and we’ve got some they’re a little bit younger, but that’s the majority are sort of in that age range. They’ve all lived at home all of their lives. None of these people have ever lived on their own. Some of them have never been away from home. Wow. And so we added in a mental health component as well for counseling services because it’s such a huge transition in life. Yeah. So we are just beginning that program and we brought some counselors in and they’re going to help the family and the person with a disability work on that transition before they get out there because there’s so many changes that happen with that relationship as they move on.

Rob Clemons
Yeah, no, that makes a lot of sense where, you know, what’s the end goal for these people who move in?

Sarah Pope
Well, the end goal is that they are so happy that they never want to go home and their families know that they’ve had some sort of input into where the person’s living as they’re aging and wondering what’s going to happen to my person when I’m not here anymore. Yeah, and there’s no plan. And so that’s really sort of where we wanted to be is like, I want them to be happy. I want their families to see them be coming independent and self-sufficient so that we can rest in peace one day, you know? And yeah, yeah. So that’s that’s the end of the, the sort of circle of life for us. So is it. So they’ll be there forever and will end up with sort of a it’ll be like an old people’s community at some point because they’re all going to age together.

Rob Clemons
Yeah, yeah.

Sarah Pope
And then we’ll have different needs and that kind of thing that we haven’t figured out yet, because no one’s done that. No one’s done this. So we, we don’t know what that looks like when everyone is 65 and 70 and what happens. They’ll probably be a lot of other services we have to bring in at that point because they’re all going to age at the same time. You know.

Rob Clemons
This is amazing. I mean, it’s such a groundbreaking thing. Are there are there other sources around the country? Is this being done at other places or I mean, because it sounds very revolutionary in concept.

Sarah Pope
There are not many places. It’s a huge need. I mean, we have 300 people on our waitlist for 130 places. And, you know, there are some other nonprofits across the country. Most of them are started by families of people with disabilities in their family. And they’ve started a5a1c3 nonprofit to be able to really get into the housing business. So there’s something called the Autism Housing Network where it tells you all of the places across the country where there might be some kind of residential program or housing project, there’s not many. This is very new and very different. We modeled ours after a program in Florida called Noah’s Landing, and we went there several times and it just seemed like the right fit for us of what we wanted to do. And so we really took a lot of their ideas, and that’s how we came up with Oak Tree Farm.

Rob Clemons
Very, very powerful stuff. You mentioned grants. How does that work? You know, is this a government grant like a federal government or is it state state funded?

Sarah Pope
We’ve got multiple funding sources. And so it’s a bit complicated, but we’ve got some HUD funds, we’ve got some South Carolina housing trust funds, and we also have some ARPA funds. And so we’ve got multiple funding sources. And then Southwest also has loans with South State. And so they’ve been our partners in helping us figure out how we would, you know, fund the whole project up until now. And so we yes, we meet with them often saying help us, we need more money. Right? And then we write more grants and we fill in the gaps. And fortunately, we’ve we’ve got enough money to build these three apartment buildings and and the Chapman Health and Wellness Center. And so that’s a good start for us. And then we have three more buildings after that that we’ll have to find funding for. That will be grant writing for those two at some point soon.

Rob Clemons
And you said the Chapman Health and Wellness Center. Tell me about that.

Sarah Pope
Yes. So the the Health and Wellness Center is really the sort of community center of the neighborhood. And so we’ll be providing life skills training and employment services and they’ll be all kinds of fun activities there. So yoga and art and cooking and all of those things and um, and the shape and foundation have always been tremendous supporters of ours. And so they gave us a very generous donation to help us build the center. And then we had a capital campaign where lots of people in the community donated. And so I think we’re going to be able to pay cash for that building. It looks like this is all.

Rob Clemons
I’m clapping for that that is. Well, that is so amazing.

Sarah Pope
Yeah.

Rob Clemons
So for yourself, Sarah. And as we get towards the back half of this, what is it that motivates you in life to be like you are? Because you’ve obviously given yourself to something that’s bigger than yourself, of course. But what motivates you on a day to day basis?

Sarah Pope
No one else is going to do this. And so I see the needs, I know the families, I live the life, and I can do it and I have the support to do it. And so I love going to work every day. I love problem solving. I love creating new programs and and I’m good at it. So it’s so for me, it’s just I’m like the vehicle, you know? Yeah, I think it was just like, okay, things come to me very easily and people come into my path the way they need to for all of the things that we need to get done and so, you know, people come up with their own way of how I ended up doing all of these things depends on what you believe in. But, you know, I’m just sort of the vehicle and all of the things come that need to come to make these things happen for the people that need us the most.

Rob Clemons
That’s great. That’s amazing stuff. And I can very much appreciate and respect the path you’ve taken here and doing great things for the community, for the autistic society, I guess I could say. And the question I have for you is how can people best get involved if somebody hears this today and they want to volunteer, they want to give money, they want to do whatever they can, you know, you have more buildings coming up, Monarch Roofing, of course, we’d love to help you with some of those roofs, as you know. What else can we do to help and how can people get involved?

Sarah Pope
Well, I think the best way is for people to go to the website. There’s places where you can donate. There’s places where you can fill out an application to volunteer. There’s ways to get in touch with us and so, you know, whatever people are looking for, we probably have a program for that. If we don’t, we’ll be thinking about why we don’t taken that into consideration as we develop our programs for next year or following years. And we always need donations and so people can support however they can. We have multiple events. All of those things are on our website or join the capital campaign any way that people can help it really is a community sort of project. So many people have been involved in what we do. We’re so lucky to have businesses and people just, you know, individual donors that help us. So all of those things, whatever it is that people can do, if you can give $10 a month to help, we have a recurring, you know, gift place where you could make that donation seems like it wouldn’t be much, but all of those things add up so quickly when multiple people are doing those things and we always need volunteers for events and things like that, too.

Rob Clemons
Terrific. Well, that that is very, very good information. I appreciate you sharing this with us today. Of course, anything else that you want to talk about coming up that you’re excited about before we sign off?

Sarah Pope
We always have so many things going on there that really have multiple events. So just look on our website and see if you are interested in a golf event or Macaroni and Cheese Cook-Off or whatever the things are.

Rob Clemons
Macaroni and cheese, man.

Sarah Pope
So we have multiple things happening all the time. Palmetto Giving Day is in May. That’s our biggest fundraiser. We really did amazing things that day, so that’s great if people want to be involved in that and help us. So any of those things will take any help however people want to give it.

Rob Clemons
That’s amazing thing. Well, Sarah, I appreciate you being on today. A lot of great information for anybody listening. Definitely. I encourage you to go to the website, reach out, get involved. Sarah, thank you for being on here today with me.

Sarah Pope
I appreciate it.

Rob Clemons
Absolutely. Sarah Pope, as always, care doing amazing things. I’m going to sign off with this one because it’s such a powerful thing. Give back to your community. Learn a little bit more about autism and how you can help your fellow man. And we’ll go from there. All right. This Rob Clemons signing off with Crowning Connections. We’ll see you guys next time.

 

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