An enduring, evolving story…..
Impact OASIS is a sister organization of I.M.P.A.C.T. (Improving
Middletown’s Program for Autistic Children Together). IMPACT was
formed as a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt organization in the year 2000.
The purpose of incorporating was to be able to raise money to
assist the public school system with the development of an
appropriate educational program for the increasing autistic
population. Besides lending funds, IMPACT members worked tirelessly
to increase awareness and educate the public about autism and how
it affects children. Annual autism assemblies were presented at the
seventeen public schools in our district. District-wide essay
contests were also orchestrated annually. The last, but equally
important area of our work was advocacy. IMPACT officers took an
active role at school board meetings and joined numerous important
committees to learn how to skillfully encourage people to accept
the challenge of educating children with autism.
As programs were being developed in the eleventh hour, the
realization of adulthood and end of educational entitlement loomed
closer and closer. It had always been a dream of the founding
members to create farmstead communities for autistic adults to live
and work on. It was time to refocus on this project.
Impact OASIS (Ongoing Autistic Success in Society) was born. Impact
OASIS, also a 501 (c)(3) public charity incorporated in September
2007. We have been working closely with the local government, a
county agency and the state of New Jersey to put funds together to
purchase our first farm. We also leased 7 acres of farmland and
began a horticultural program. Many young volunteers, community
members and autistic individuals took part in this (see Stevenson’s
Members of the Middletown Township Committee, the Mayor, Monmouth
Conservation Foundation, NJDEP Green Acres, and NY/NJ Baykeeper
have been completely supportive and helpful to us in our endeavor.
With the help of our capital campaign, we will be looking to close
on our first farm sometime in the very near future. The facility
will be surrounded by land purchased by the state, county and
Middletown Township for public use. The portion afforded to OASIS
will be central to this land. It is here that we will operate the
first step of our farmstead model. We plan to have a transitional
program for young adults with autism (see the TRAIL Project). Our
next step will be to purchase another farm that can serve as a more
permanent adult residence.
We believe, as parents of autistic individuals, that the peaceful
setting of a farm and the closeness to nature will be a truly
rewarding and therapeutic work environment for these challenged
individuals. We also feel strongly that there is a need for the
public as a whole to begin to think about how we treat our
environment. We look forward to having our children and their peers
teach others the importance of conservation, good nutrition, the
humane treatment of animals and the benefits of good outdoor
physical labor. Thank you in advance for your interest.