Jen Hackett and Sandi Krajeski became friends while working together in the Webster (NY) Central School District. They shared a love of the outdoors and a passion for helping their students. In 2012, while on a camping trip with their families, the two friends began discussing the limited vacation options for families with children on the autism spectrum. It was then they hatched the idea for Camp Puzzle Peace, an annual camp where families living with autism and related disorders could enjoy the peaceful setting of the Adirondack mountains, while receiving support from educational and community professionals.
In 2013, our first family camp brought five families to Beaver Camp, outside of Lowville, NY. Since then, the camp has grown in popularity and scope. Seventeen families joined us in the summer of 2016 and plans are in place for an additional, late summer, camp to be added for 2017.
Upon returning home, Hackett and Krajeski, now joined by a coalition of educators, parents, and community professionals, looked for ways to provide year-round support for families in and around Monroe County dealing with autism and related disorders. Soon Camp Puzzle Peace developed a series of programs and outings designed to continue their mission. The success of these programs led to the establishment of The Family Autism Center, which opened its doors on February 11, 2015.
The newly branded, Family Autism Center, now offers programs in art and music designed to build social skills, water safety, technology, teen empowerment, support for siblings, parent workshops and many more. Our new home has enabled us to more effectively provide skill-building opportunities to families and children that promote independence, healthy, active lifestyles, family networking, and opportunities for community participation.