Much good can start with just one person and a vision. Add a little community support- say, from thrift shoppers using their thrifting, shopping, and donating skills. Who knows what could be achieved? Could thrift shoppers become a force in dealing with the puzzle of autism?
Someone believes in the community power to achieve that goal. That someone is Miles Knight Estrada.
Miles Knight Estrada is an enthusiastic fourteen-year-old young man from San Clemente with many talents and dreams, but he is one of the 2 million people in the US diagnosed with autism. Young Miles and his parents Linda and Joe are the faces of a growing community of autistic people and their families. The autism in their lives dictates special needs that can be overwhelming and expensive- needs for therapies, skills, and socialization so autistic children can have a fulfilling role in society. Schools cannot provide for all the need. Many treatments for autism fall between medical and educational definitions, with neither side taking ownership. Parents have few options or cannot afford expensive therapies.
Thus began Miles4Autism.
The idea is simple: to start 5 thrift stores in a 30-mile radius with donated and consigned goods and toys. From those proceeds raised at the stores, open a therapy center and “fun zone” for autistic children. Needed therapies are offered free of charge, along with a safe “play” place for autistic children to enact the socialization skills they learn.
The Miles4Autism vision is beginning to unfold.
Their first thrift shop is located at 31678 Coast Highway Laguna Beach (next to the 7-11). Their second shop is in San Juan Capistrano at 31896 Plaza Drive E-4 behind the Marshalls Center (through the Capistrano Home Center archway at the back along the freeway). Information is available on www.Miles4Autism.org.
Now for the community part of the vision- the part that Miles is trusting will happen. Miles4Autism needs lots of help, in lots of different ways.
Clean out your closets for a cause. Donate items to either store. The two fledgling stores are looking for gently used items of any sort.
Support the thrift stores- there are lots of great bargains available- so GO SHOP.
Support their fundraisers. The next one is July 9- “Eat Dough/Raise Dough” at Selma’s Pizzeria in San Clemente. Or just donate.
Or become a corporate sponsor by emailing Linda@Miles4Autism@cox.net. (Join other sponsors such as LaserQuest, Men's Wearhouse, J Darby Photography, Syrens Hair Parlor, Active Culture, Edible Arrangements, Surf Brothers Teriyaki, SereneQi Acupuncture, Selma's and more).
Do some small thing. Small steps done together can accomplish so much help for kids like Miles and their families. Thrift for autism.