A Night to Remember

After dropping off her children at LifeTown, Kara Cabaniss went out for dinner. It’s something many other parents take for granted. But for the parents of the 30 or so children from babies to teens who came on December 10 to Parents’ Night Out, an evening alone can be a rare event. “It’s hard to get a babysitter when your child has autism,” said Cabaniss. 

For two hours, the kids had a blast, dancing in jazzercise, creating works of art, watching a movie, enjoying a concert, and bouncing and swinging on the playground. In the art room, Solomon looked at his creation with deep satisfaction. “I made a rainbow S!” he said. 

The volunteers, many of them teens, made sure the kids had just as much fun as their parents. 

Justin Givner, a teen volunteer, can often be found at LifeTown, and this Saturday night was no exception. “I have a brother with autism, and it just feels right to give back. I try to come every weekend and when they ask me, I’m here. I love it here,” he said.

David Altman, 23, gave Lewis, 17, a big hug when he arrived. David started volunteering with Lewis when he was 12 and Lewis was 7. He never expected the relationship to continue indefinitely. But somewhere along the way, things shifted. Now he said, “It’s not volunteering. We’re friends.” 

While Chanie and Guy Goldstein went on a double date with friends for the first time in five years, Ellen Seidman used the night for some alone time, just to buy a new phone charger and pick up a special top for a party without anyone tagging along. “The activities I have lined up are not so exciting – but for me, the fact that I can do them by myself – that’s exciting!” she said. 

Like all the other parents, Seidman received a small goodie bag on her way out. It was just a small touch to make her, and all of the parents, feel cared for and just a little bit pampered. 

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