Going to Eruption doesn’t even feel like volunteer work; it never has. It feels like a big get-together, just not with ordinary people like you and I. It is filled with extraordinary and outgoing people, people who the ordinary person would not expect to have so much in common with. Also, it is not just the kids who I have become closer with, but also with the fellow volunteers who devote their time to go to Eruption. They are some of the nicest, most kind-hearted people that I have ever met. All of the volunteers are like a family; we have become so close to each other. They have become some of my closest friends and it feels weird to say that I probably would not have been blessed to know them if not for the volunteering opportunity at Eruption Athletics. And for that, I am eternally thankful. It is an experience that changes you, as a person, for the rest of your life. I can tell that, since starting, my overall character has improved ten-fold.
~Colin Gurtner (Volunteer)
I am writing this letter in reference to one of my clients, Andrew Carlins.
He attends an exercise class with Eruption Athletics. I am a certified Behavioral Analyst with The Watson Institute and Family Behavioral Resources and have been working with children with autistic/neurological impairments for over 20 years now. I have been working with Andrew and his family for almost a year now and have noticed significant growth and improvement in his social abilities and overall mental health. Andrew has minimal interests and he appears to be highly motivated in attending his exercise class. This class not only helps encourage overall physical health but it gives Andrew exposure to a new social network. Because Andrew has social deficits, this is a wonderful opportunity for him to further develop social relationships while participating in a program which benefits his overall well being. I was quite impressed to learn of this program which targets children with special needs. Not only does this program help out a specific population, it is a great opportunity to educate the community about special needs children. I hope this program continues to grow and can expand to other communities. I would recommend this program to other children and families with similar issues.
~Lisa. A. Husar, M.Ed, --BCBA Behavioral Analyst
The Watson Institute/Family Behavioral Resources
Our daughter Emily LaRosa has benefited from her participation in Eruption Athletics' workout program in so many ways. We believe that it has truly been a blessing for Emily to be a part of Eruption Athletics,it is one of the best things she has ever done.
~Ed and Mary Liz LaRosa (Parents)
Joe and Chris are amazing with these young adults. They keep them motivated and interested. I really don’t think anyone there thinks of the exercises as ‘work’ but more like ‘fun.’ They have a wonderful team of volunteers that work very well with everyone. You can tell this is so much more than a job to these men. They are truly interested in making a difference in someone’s life, and they are doing just that. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle is a lesson that my daughter will be able to use for the rest of her life. We are so fortunate to have found Eruption Athletics!
~Lisa Donina (Parent)
Joe and Chris your sincere concern for your clients is refreshing and endearing. Your contagious enthusiasm and your amazing patience with all of your kids are a testament to the inevitable continued success of the program. I love to watch the way that they all respond to you and work hard to please you. The confidence-building techniques that you employ are awesome and effective! Keep up the good work! ~Cindy Dixon Clary (Parent)
One Thursday evening, I had the privilege of observing one of my clients during his gym class with Eruption Athletics. Upon getting out of the car and walking to the building, he was exuding a confidence that I had not seen before in a public setting. He had a sense of belonging and was excited to show me around the facility. It was wonderful to see him interact with the other kids and his instructors, be so eager to join in, and show so much pride in himself for completing each task!
As a behavior analyst, my intentions were to observe his social interactions with his peers and instructors, how well he followed directions and stayed with the group, how easily redirected he was when he steered away from the group, and how much assistance (prompting) was needed during each exercise. EA provided a structure to each group in which he thrived! Joe and Chris had the ability to redirect with ease, provided individual attention while maintaining the participant’s highest level of independence, and were highly effective with providing reinforcement in the form of praise and bonuses for extra effort such as getting to try a new machine. Also note worthy is their seemingly endless energy level that flowed through each group, keeping participants motivated, and having fun. They both showed patience, kindness, and respect toward each participant. Eruption Athletics provides people with developmental challenges a great opportunity to learn healthy lifestyle habits, while making new friends, and being integrated into the community. ~Nicole Wilson, BCBA--Behavior Consultant
Applied Behavior Consulting for Autism, LLC
We have a 27 year old son with Autism and Intellectual Disabilities. He is also non-verbal He was also morbidly obese three years ago as he had been most of his life. In October of 2010, Greg was admitted to St. Clair Hospital via ambulance. He had cellulitis, pneumonia and was indicating that he had chest pains. He was admitted to ICU. He came home on blood pressure medicine, asthma medicine, oxygen around the clock and cholesterol medicine. He weighed 400 lbs. Today, due to Eruption Athletics and their caring and relentless help with Greg, he weighs 200 lbs. He no longer takes asthma medication, does not use oxygen at all, and his blood pressure medicine has been decreased. Greg's pulmonologist told me at his last appointment that his health was in jeopardy and his birthdays may not have happened if he hadn't improved his health. He could not have done it without the caring and compassion of Joe and Chris and their outstanding volunteers. Greg never wants to miss. You've become his favorite activity. I love you guys. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. ~Roz and Paul Crisson (Parents)
Eruption Athletics is much more than a place where people go
to get into better shape. Eruption is a place where you will always be accepted no matter who you are. The kids at Eruption illustrate that kids with disabilities are only different if you treat them differently. My original goal wasn’t even remotely close to what this organization has opened my eyes up to. It is a different world inside of that gym. No matter how much you cry, talk, complain, dance, jump, struggle, and any other great little habit you might have, you will be accepted.
~Sam Lindsay (Volunteer)