Sunday, July 21, 2013


Greetings MADKAP blogospherians.  Great news to share with all of you, although it's not yet truly official in debit and credit posting terms.  Not dissimilar to a presidential election or half-time at a Vanderbilt football game (pre-James Franklin era, of course), we're calling this one early.  Donations have exceeded $24K, and two checks are in transit that will take us over the $25K mark....which very importantly ensures a doubling of funds raised courtesy of WKU's matching.  $50K+!

This is a tremendous collective achievement for all of us and will have a significant impact on the program going forward.  As noted in eMail, please know that my gratitude and appreciation represents the same from The Kellys, Dr. Boman and KAP leadership, KAP mentors, and scores of KAP students present and future.  The impact is long-term and meaningful.  Thank you.

Also, in a few weeks, I will be able to share additional news with you re: even greater impact that the MADKAP initiative is fueling.  Stayed tuned for big news.

In closing, a little fun reviewing the cities represented by MADKAP donations.  Again, a sincere thank you to you all.

  • Nashville
  • Franklin
  • Brentwood
  • Clarksville
  • Murfreesboro
  • Spring Hill
  • Sevierville
  • Dickson
  • Knoxville
  • Goodlettsville
  • Chattanooga
  • Nolensville
  • Gallatin
  • Duck River
  • Antioch
  • Winchester
  • New Johnsonville
  • Memphis
  • Pleasant View
  • Kingston Springs
  • Bowling Green
  • Lexington
  • Birmingham
  • Canton
  • Rochester Hills
  • Livonia
  • Warren
  • Atlanta
  • Dunwoody
  • Roswell
  • Lithia
  • Longwood
  • Jacksonville
  • Wellington
  • Orlando
  • Naples
  • Fort Meyers
  • Ronda
  • Phoenix
  • Castle Rock
  • Foxfield
  • Moody
  • Birmingham
  • Huntingdon
  • Bellevue
  • Sydney, Australia (Ryb, good on ya, mate)
{ Read More }

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

MADKAP Featured In KAP's Spring '13 Newsletter

Greetings.  KAP was kind enough to include an article that I wrote re: the MADKAP scholarship fund-raising initiative in its most recent quarterly newsletter.  Here it is....thanks!

Why would someone run four half marathons in four straight weekends?  Surely they'd have to be madcap.  And in a way that's right….it's an active effort of Making A Difference for Kelly Autism Program.  MADKAP!  As the associated blog states, I'm Jeff….Nashville resident, WKU Dad, and Friend of KAP.  My son, Ryan, is concluding a very successful freshman year as a Hilltopper, and a significant part of that success can be directly attributed to the services and care provided by the KAP community.  As part of MADKAP, we're literally taking the KAP name to the streets - half marathons in Nashville (4/27), Cincinnati (5/5), Paducah (5/11), and Chattanooga (5/18) - to actively promote KAP by increasing awareness of the program and generating financial support.  We're specifically seeking to raise $25,000 to be used as an endowment to create self-sustaining scholarships for KAP's college students.

It can be challenging enough to pay for higher education even before considering KAP's fees.  But without the helpful resources, nurturing environment, and tailored services provided by KAP, paying for college might be a moot point for some students.  Without KAP, they would be much less likely to obtain the support necessary to obtain a college education.

So, as stated, we're making a difference, and we're doing so by generating funds that will have a lasting impact.  Perhaps the best part?  If we can raise $25,000, then WKU will match our efforts and we'll effectively raise $50,000 for KAP scholarships.  And there's lots of room on this figurative road…please join us in being a part of raising both awareness and additional funding.

{ Read More }

Sunday, June 2, 2013

KAP Profile - Ryan H (Student)

As we start the final month of the 2013 MADKAP initiative, it seems fitting to introduce one of the central characters in this ongoing son, Ryan.  Ryan is a big-hearted guy with a knack for imitating and quoting seemingly anything/everything.  His Asperger's diagnosis was rendered at ~4yo.  Thanks to many great resources both within and in addition to Ryan's schools, he completed elementary and secondary education without the assistance of classroom aides and earned a diploma from one of the US's top 50 public schools, Hume-Fogg Magnet High School (HFA).

As his Dad - and admitting the obvious bias - I'm a big fan of Ryan, love his good-hearted nature, and am ever thankful that he is part of an academic community that truly feels like home away from home to him.  Given that I could write a novel about the young man, what I'd like to do is ask if you, as MADKAP supporters, would like to know some specific things about Ryan - initial diagnosis, therapy, schooling, home life, etc. - and I'll gladly add a follow-up article.  Please post a comment if so.

That said, onward....we'll let the folks from KAP provide a brief introduction and then share some Q&A with Ryan.

Introduction by KAP:  Ryan is finishing his freshman year at WKU and has really enjoyed the opportunity to live independently on a college campus.  Ryan has become a staff favorite due to his witty personality and humor.  He is a hard worker and very dedicated to his studies.  KAP especially enjoys Ryan's participation in our video game nights.  He keeps the whole group entertained with his enthusiasm and love of games.  KAP has really enjoyed seeing Ryan grow during his first year and we look forward to many more!

Q:  What year are you at WKU and what is your major?
Ryan H:  I just completed my freshman year and I am currently undeclared.

Q:  Where are you from?
Ryan H:  I am from Nashville, Tennessee.

Q:  Will you tell us a bit about you?
Ryan H:  I have one sister, Anna, and a miniature dachshund, Sofi.  I do my best to stay ahead of the game in school by taking lots of notes on my netbook during classes.  While I do work hard, I also like to relax.  A relaxed mind is a healthy mind.  I have enjoyed all of the schools I've attended - Julia Green Elementary, Meigs Magnet Middle, and HFA....and now WKU.  It's something I'm very thankful for.

Q:  Why did you select WKU?
Ryan H:  I picked WKU because of KAP.  KAP was like the ultimate accommodation for someone of my needs.  KAP allows me time to get away from my normal environment and get into a place that is meant for work.  I even have my own office for studying!

Q:  When you think of yourself as someone who lives with Asperger's Syndrome, what does that mean to you?
Ryan H:  It means that I need a few more accommodations to perform comfortably in academic terms.

Q:  How would you describe your experience transitioning from home to college?
Ryan H:  I was very reluctant at first....very reluctant.  At first it was very lonely, but after a week I started feeling better.  Going to any college is going to be a very lonely thing because everything you know is gone.  Getting used to campus and learning where things were helped, and KAP helped me transition into it as well.

Q:  What are your biggest challenges with college?
Ryan H:  Keeping up with all the work.  And the initial change in environment took time to get used to.  Trains running by the dorm made it difficult to get into a normal sleep pattern.  Everyone has been really nice to me at WKU.

Q:  What does KAP provide for you?
Ryan H:  KAP provides more time to work.  They provide instructional help when I need it.  And people who I can trust and talk to.

Q:  What do you want to do with your education after you graduate from WKU?
Ryan H:  Perhaps something with voice work or acting - like the video game industry - and contribute to an industry that was a big influence during my childhood.

Q:  What are your hobbies and favorite things to do?
Ryan H:  Playing video games is the biggest one.  I love my dog....I miss her greatly when I'm at school.  Hanging out with friends.  I enjoy movies, especially funny ones (and hate ones with no coherent plot).  I enjoy being able to go on vacation since I don't have many opportunities to do that now that I'm in college.

Q:  What do you most want potential supporters of KAP to know?
Ryan H:  Without the program, it would be a lot harder to be motivated to work hard.  Getting stuff done is a lot easier with them around.  It'll take time and it'll take effort, but I will be able to graduate from college with KAP's assistance.  It would be a lot harder without KAP.  I honestly think this program should be expanded into more schools because of how it helps people like me get our work done and remain hard-working students.  I was lucky enough to live close to this program, but more people need it.  I am certain that graduation rates would increase if this program was in every college in America.

{ Read More }

Sunday, May 26, 2013

MADKAP Donor Wall - 5/26/2013

Wanted to take a moment to recognize everyone who has contributed to the MADKAP initiative to help support the Kelly Autism Program (KAP) community.  Thank you for your generosity and is significant and, as the name indicates, is making a difference.  If I have erroneously omitted your name from this list, PLEASE let me know and I will correct that as quickly as possible....any omissions are simply related either to clerical errors (mine) or timing of official postings (certain types of contributions encounter longer processing delays).  In no particular order other than likely, estimated contribution dates:

Linda and Brad H
Steve H
Suzanne E
Cadine N
Lori S
Buddy K
Kim C
Sam C
Cosmin C
Roy S
Cynthia H
Mike C
Sean G
Krystal K
Steven K
Margaret K
David P
Hank L
Chuck S
Amy T
Stephen S
Alex E
Amy H
Paul B
Michael C
Scott S
Matt T
Carl N
Sonny C
Caroline F
Jason T
John L
Beth and Brent B
Don and Carol P
Jesse E
Andy L
John F
David L
Quailla H
Dawn R
Erin G
Curt and Dana C
Chad F
Paul R
Mark E
Edmund M
Ron D
Irene F
Darin M
Ted B
Carolyn P
Bruce E
Matt H
Tom C
Tim L
Armando Q
Richard H
Fred and Sue B
Jim and Dale K
Glenn J
Jason E
Brian S
Tom C
Fred M
Beth H
Michael C
Jason P
John R
John A
Mike K
Amy W
Jack R
Vince H
Todd R
Michael S
Susan S
Web W
Connie C
Steve J
Ellen W
Andy G
Ken K
Gary W
Sharon K
Julie H
Steve and Lisa S
Bill S
Elinor E
Juanita M
Hank L
Robert R
Bob C
David O
Carol P
David O'
Grant J
Bonnie G
Rich and Marsha G
Robert B
Brian and Sarah V
Randy C
Steve H (again)
Jesse E (again)
Dawn R (again)
Jim and Dale K (again)
Aimee S
Brandon P
Linda and Brad H (again)
Henry and Ann P
E. A. D
James and Adele Y
Melynda R
John and Urla W
Tamela A
Jeffrey H
David P (again)
Janice and H.D. W
Billy and Mary D
Debbie C
Elizabeth P
J. Charles T

Thank you everyone!
{ Read More }

MADKAP Fund-Raising Update - 6th Hurdle Cleared!

Greetings.  Just a brief post to let you all know that we have cleared the 6th (of 8) fund-raising hurdles and are beyond the $18,000 mark.  A sincere thank you for your generosity and support!  Please share the word with your circle of friends....there are ~35 days remaining to reach the $25,000 mark....and thereby double the impact of our fund-raising by earning WKU's match of an additional $25,000.  Many thanks!
{ Read More }

Sunday, May 19, 2013

"Final Four" - Rock/Creek Scenic City Trail 1/2 Marathon - 5/18/2013

Not dissimilar to the Sesame Street song, one of these things is not like the other.  In this case, it would be the trail half marathon....the last of MADKAP's four half marathons in four consecutive weekends and the only one off-road.  Chattanooga's Raccoon Mountain provided the landscape for this effort.  Now, depending on the course, a trail half is 50% running and 80% surviving.  And yes, that's bad math, but it's accurate math.  Mud, rocks, puddles, downed trees, stobs (devasting when concealed by leaves), exposed roots, more rocks, moving water, thorny vines and small tree branches growing over the path, race requirement for runners to carry their own sources of hydration, even more rocks, no mile markers or clocks, no bands, no fans, no frills.  And that was just the warm-up.  It was like Forrest and Bubba but with rocks....big rocks, small rocks, half buried rocks, sharp rocks, loose rocks, wet rocks, uneven rocks, rock paths, rock climbs, rock descents, rock and roll (Tom)...........that- that's about it.

For those of you interested in a way to amp-up your running without adding distance, the trail might be your calling.  Find a trail with uneven terrain and ~100 feet of ascending per mile on average and you will have a different experience than on the road.  If nothing else it's different because of the amount of mental energy given to watching the ground and focusing on the placement of each feet are starting to hurt again just typing about it.  It's the only race I can recall dreading simply can't run fast on a steep decline for risk of a misstep and loss of control.

Alas, MADKAP persists and in its way prevails.  This author posted a 1:38:07 to claim the male master's category, Counselor Tom contributed perhaps his final result in the M45-49 category with a 1:53:30 (including a ground-level view of the trail resulting in a minor epidermal breach), and Teacher Michael concluded the effort in 2:26:59.  All were fatigued and in need of showers much sooner than a return drive to central time afforded.

So the remaining race is the race to $25,000, and we're about 70% there.  A sincere thank you for all the support - financial and other - to date.  I'll be back in touch soon with more posts related to this pursuit as well as the long-awaited profile of my son, Ryan. 

{start/finish in background - wearing MADKAP shirts and pre-race smiles of unknowing optimism}
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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Iron Mom 1/2 Marathon - 5/11/2013

It was another lovely day for our second straight weekend on the banks of the Ohio River for the 3rd annual Mother's Day Eve Iron Mom Half Marathon.  An early 6:30AM start, mid-50s temps, and a cloudy morning made for an excellent distance running excellent as that activity gets, at least.  MADKAP shirts were briskly and bipedally transported through the streets of America's "Quilt City" - Paducah, Kentucky - but only after the singularly important pre-race question was posed to nearly 1000 individual and relay runners, "Are you ready to run like a mother?".

Despite forgoing pre-race mani/pedis and an absence of athletic accoutrement accessorizing (consonantal alliteration for you readers here only for the grammar), apparently we were.  This author managed a 1:28:08 which was good enough on this day to win the Male Master's (read: old people) division, and Counselor Tom dropped his handbag to demonstrate his customary final mile kick and consolidate a high age group finish in 1:43:44.

Off-road we go next weekend onto the trails of Raccoon Mountain in Chattanooga for the 4th of four straight half marathons.  Thanks for following our progress and for your support.  We're approximately 70% to our $25,000 fund-raising goal and would appreciate you sharing the word with as many people as possible so we can reach $25K by the end of June and turn that $25K into $50K with the help of WKU's matching funds.  Thanks again!

{post-race ~50 feet south of the finish line by the Ohio River in downtown Paducah - Illinois is in the background}
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