Erin was a gentle, sensitive girl just slightly different in her manner than other kids her age…now because of that small variance she is gone. She took her life at 17.
Kids on the autism spectrum frequently have difficulty making friends – and even if they feel like they are making progress during the week, social networking posts prove to them they are not. Never invited to a party, or a movie, they can clearly see their classmates enjoying these activities – always without them.
In their grief, Erin’s parents Darren and Stacy Horst, wished there had been a place where Erin could have experienced the relief and comfort of true acceptance. Relief that could have made enough of a difference to save her life.
So, from that dark and hopeless place, The Horst’s created E’s Club a bright comfortable place where other kids on the spectrum frequently excluded like Erin, could always feel welcome, accepted, and included. The Horst’s were determined to help protect other parents, from experiencing such a unbearable tragedy. E’s Club was born out of their sheer determination and the resolve of that vision, to serve others.
Frequently toddlers seem to be developing as expected – then without much warning it becomes clear this beautiful child is going to require a uniquely varied combination of opportunities to reach their true potential. Parents learn that the range of differences in these kids is so drastic that even getting help to define what is possible for them can be a nearly impossible.
While other students immerse themselves in the excitement of the college application process, many of these kids will experience this common rite of passage as further evidence that they are, and will always be outsiders. Entering adolescence brings a growing self-awareness for all kids. For kids on the spectrum it clarifies their difference – compounded and reinforced by the reactions of others.
In my own experience as a chaperone at E’s club I have spoken to high school seniors (who are college bound) about the philosophy of a civil society and the complex challenges of negotiating policy with North Korea.
Sometimes I just sit at the table with members drawing quietly. The most socially confident students can even learn to play Pool. There are kids playing video games while more may choose to watch them in silence. However these young adults do, or do not, participate is totally ok. Here it is comfortable, because their silence or lack of eye contact is always unremarkable in this wonderfully predictable haven.
E's Club is a place where teens ages 12 to seniors in high schools and young adults ages 18 to 24 with HFAS can meet to have fun, and develop meaningful friendships in a safe and encouraging environment.
E’s Club features an open and inviting space where teenagers want to hang out so they can make meaningful connections and lasting friendships.
E's Club staff and volunteers are always on hand to provide oversight and encourage positive engagement.
Foosball, billiards, ping-pong, tables, board games, playing cards, and XBox gaming consoles for 2 or more players all help entertain and encourage interaction.
Planned around the specific interests of the group, social outings and field trips are scheduled for sports events, concerts, and outdoor activities like hiking.
Periodic social gathers are planned with a new theme or major activity introduced at each event.
Erin's Hope for Friends is a non-profit organization on a mission to create lasting relationships through joyful interactions for HFAS teen and young adults.
"A friend loves at all times; a brother is born for adversity." - Proverbs 17:17
11940 Alpharetta Highway, #110 Alpharetta, GA 30009
Loren had taught college all of her life. She loved it so much she could not bear to think of retirement. Happily married, a grandmother of six, she had lived a charmed existence 50 year marriage, that wasn’t until August 2018. It was then that Loren was diagnosed with a bad case of shingles. Common enough then it progressed to be a very serious case; and just when it started to look like it was getting better it doubled back with a vengeance. Sleep became impossible and simply showering and dressing became terribly painful. Traditional OTC pain meds were inadequate at this point so Loren and her husband were referred to a pain specialist. By this point she had been away from the University for 45 days and her husband had to leave his job to care for her. She lost 25 pounds and had now stopped eating entirely.
The pain specialist said it was the worst case he had ever seen and gave her a prescription and it helped a little but her usually vibrant health was failing. Being in this state for almost 2 months was now affecting her blood pressure, electrolytes, hydration, and multiple cellular systems that affect every function and organ in our bodies. This was a very rough road, shingles have become a systemic disease – unarmed. Loren did not seem in any way like the person she had become. No one understood what was happening. She was in and out of the hospital for a wide range of symptoms for the next two weeks and ended in rehab. Drugs with methadone were prescribed and now her body was addicted and insisting on more.
Loren was not aware of her cravings because she had not chosen to take something that could be addictive. Her pain specialist said they did not offer step down services for people who became addicted in treatment. WHAT? How are people never involved with drugs supposed to figure this out?
Loren was now a remnant of her former self. Her family and friends were in a total panic as she spiraled down; displaying symptoms more associated with mental illness than anything. She just wanted to die and get this now three month ordeal over with; – there was no hope in sight. Her husband Dean and their children were emotionally shattered and paralyzed and no one offered help, including the doctor who said to go back to on the methadone while they try to figure it out, by themselves!
Luckily the story ends happily as a friend of theirs from church said a doctor in Florida did infusion therapy with colloidal silver to wash the bloodstream of opioid toxins and then flood the body with nutrients. The next day the couple made the trip to Florida and in five days Loren was back from the brink. If she had not found this option or she could not afford it, like many seniors, she would’ve died for nothing from a bad case of shingles. She started out a full healthy person mind and body and her treatment –nearly killed her.