November 2013: Andrew & Natalie Cernius
With Thanksgiving coming up, we have much to be thankful for this month of November. We would like to kick off our month of thankfulness by featuring Andrew Cernius as our Child of the Month and Natalie Cernius as our first Volunteer of the Month!
We could not be more excited to feature these two wonderful people and the immense impact they have made at UCP-OC and alongside UCP-OC.
Andrew is 19 years-old and is the third child in the Cernius family. Andrew has autism and comes to UCP-OC for recreational classes. “He participates in Drawing and Painting and absolutely loves it and the new teacher is fantastic!”says his mother Poita. Recently he has gotten a job at Creative Solutions for Hope in their mailroom, which both he and his parents are very proud of. He loves bringing home his paycheck!
Andrew is also the founding member (and inspiration) for the Friday Night Club, something we have all grown to love at UCP-OC! As the third child, Andrew became very close to his older siblings, and as they left for college his younger sister Natalie saw that Andrew was left without his friends. With this as her driving force, Natalie set out to create a time for teens with special needs like her brother to socialize with their peers, make friends and just have fun.
This November 21st Natalie will be honored by the National Philanthropy Day Board who is awarding her with the Outstanding Youth Award for the creation of the Friday Night Club and other philanthropic work throughout the community. More rewarding to Natalie and her family is what happened this past weekend. The Friday Night Club started 2 years ago, and this past Friday’s Halloween party attracted over 200 teens with special needs and typical teens that volunteer at the event.
Thank you Natalie for your idea to start this, and thank you Andrew for being her inspiration. With this idea UCP-OC been able to create a program for teens that is changing lives.
Drawing and Painting Class
To sign up for Drawing and Painting Class please contact Cindy Escobar at firstname.lastname@example.org