Connections among people are vital to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. Anyone who took psychology 101 will probably remember Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It goes something like this: fundamental among needs humans require is connection—esteem, friendship and love. If these are not met, individuals feel anxious and tense.

Also, as anyone who has been affected by autism will attest, connection is often more difficult because of the disorder or misperceptions about autism

I’ve started this blog mentioning Maslow and the human needs because I watched, and was charmed by, a spectacle that took place Friday night at the Erik’s Ranch & Retreats’ Diamonds in the Rough. Although it ostensibly was a fundraiser and awareness raiser for adults with autism, I watched connections being made among people who would not ordinarily have come together.

Under the aegis of an art exhibit and sale, our Erik’s Minnesota Adventures tour guides convened at Griffin Gallery in Edina, Minnesota, to mingle with artists and guests. I watched each of the young adults with autism easily converse with guests. I think back to a year ago, when Erik’s Minnesota Adventures had just started. These same social butterflies were not nearly as confident, nor would they have mingled as easily as they did this year.

I’m not saying that Erik’s Minnesota Adventures is the only reason they have self-confidence, but it has helped them find their voices. The connections each one made warms my heart and tells me that changing perception is tantamount to what we do at Erik’s Ranch & Retreats.

As fundraisers go, I would have liked to sell more art. On a connection basis, however, I believe that it was a huge success. My thanks to everyone who joined us, helped and made this evening a success.

Mary Nelson, communications director, Erik’s Ranch & Retreats

 

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