Sunday, November 21, 2010

Are you one of our 2,637 Cause members?

This week especially, we are thankful for each one of you! There is strength in numbers. Be counted. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

a non-political vote solicitation

EVERYONE can get behind this candidate!

Please vote daily in November from your phone (text 103636 to 73774) and/or using your email address at the Refresh Everything website.  Our idea is coming up the ranks slowly but surely.  The top 100 vote-getters from the previous month which weren't funded become the next month's top ranked, whereas the new ideas start at the bottom rungs.  Let's show the world we believe in awareness, acceptance, and empathy!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

How refreshing!

Beginning November 1, we'll need two minutes of your time every day through November 30.  And before we get there, we need you to recruit all your friends.  We have an opportunity to secure a $25,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh project for the production of our middle school video.  Not only will this fund the project from screenplay to credits, but it will also allow us to place a DVD in every Autism Society of America chapter in all 50 United States!

To register to vote, each person with an email address creates a profile with their email address and a password at Take a look around the site now and get used to voting for your favorite ideas.  You have a chance to vote for 10 different ideas daily.  Note that you must log in before your vote will be counted.  So after you've entered your email address and password, you still have to type in the two scrambled words before you can vote. After you vote, you can share your favorite ideas on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Our idea isn't live yet, so don't bother looking.  What we're doing now is directing people to our Facebook page specifically for this grant.  By Liking this page, you'll be able to spread the word more easily on FB and we'll be able to remind you every day in November to vote.  If you'd rather have an email reminder, just email Chelsea or Denise and we'll put you on a list.

Do you have a wi-fi equipped laptop?  Would you be willing to host a voter event at a restaurant, coffee shop, school campus, or other wireless Internet access hot spot in your neighborhood next month?  If so, let us know!  We'll get you equipped with the necessary information to get voters registered and voting for Good Friend.

Thanks for supporting this important project!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

And they're off!

The first month of a new school year is nearly behind us already.  In speaking with some parents and educators last night at our 3rd Annual Membership Meeting, it might have been quite a learning curve, with some of the rough edges needing smoothing out.  Inclusion of all learners of all abilities in the classroom (and on the playground) can be a challenging job -- but we know it is always rewarding!  So if you're still on shaky ground, we offer you the pearl Paula Kluth shared at last week's Autism Society of Wisconsin Fall Conference: "Don't give up five minutes before the miracle happens!"

What we also need to be careful of the very real problems of bullying and disability harassment.  Make no mistake -- these anti-social behaviors can lead to suicidal ideation.  We want to be sure all children can receive a free, appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).  All learners deserve to feel safe in their school.  Consider having Good Friend come to do an assembly on or around Oct. 20 -- a day designated for students to say, "The End of Bullying Begins with Me!"

Did you know our 3rd Annual "Tackling Autism Awareness" silent auction FUNdraiser will be held at Steinhafels  in Waukesha on Saturday, Nov. 6, from 1-4 p.m.?  We hope you have already marked your calendar.  If not, please do!  We're looking forward to a family-friendly event where folks can get their holiday shopping done and be entertained, all while supporting autism awareness, acceptance, and empathy.  If you have an item or collection of things (as in for a package or basket) to donate to the auction, please get in touch with us (Denise 262-391-1369; Chelsea 414-510-0385).

Would you be willing to distribute event flyers and/or posters in your community in early October?  We need LOTS of people to come to Steinhafels on Nov. 6, so we need you to help us spread the word!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Happy Birthday, Good Friend!

This week, Good Friend, Inc., celebrates the third anniversary of its incorporation.  And coincidentally, co-founder Chelsea Budde celebrates her birthday this month also!  Please consider making a donation in honor of these events either directly through our website, or at our Facebook Cause.  Your gift will help us fund our second video -- this time for a middle school audience.  Filming has already begun on this enormous undertaking, which now boasts a cast of 19 and a crew of 6.  We hope to release the DVD in early 2011, but we won't be able to do that without your support!  We appreciate your consideration, and hope you enjoy these remaining weeks of summer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Good Friend is helping create a culture of acceptance through art!

What a third birthday present this will be for Good Friend, Inc.!  A 20' x 50' (approx.) mural at the gateway to downtown Waukesha's arts-shopping-dining district by muralist Christine Vincent will have a team of remarkable junior artists helping on August 7.  Denise Schamens is bringing students with special education needs, including autism, from all over the city, together with their school friends to help paint the leaf border along the bottom.

We want all 17 of Waukesha's elementary schools represented, but we need to identify participants still from Hadfield, Lowell, Saratoga, and Summit View.  Please email if you know someone who might be interested in having his or her child be a part of this inspiring project.

By working on a mural depicting Waukesha's history, we'll be acknowledging our past.  We are celebrating our present through our junior artists and the special friendships they share.  And as we show the community how valuable people of ALL abilities are, we are treasuring their future.

You can join this collaboration by making a tax-deductible donation through Good Friend between now and August 7!  Just go to and click the Donate button.  Put "Waukesha mural" in the Purpose field so we designate the funds accordingly.  You can also write a check payable to Good Friend, Inc., Attn: Waukesha Historical Mural Project, 808 Cavalier Dr., Waukesha, WI 53186.  Donations of $100 or more will be acknowledged on the wall upon request.  Donations of $500 or more will be rewarded with an art-quality print of the finished masterpiece.  Want to sponsor a building?  For $1,000, your family or company name will go right under it!

For more information, check these out:
Facebook Page

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Middle School Student Casting Call, May 21

In response to a Community Conversation held in Waukesha in March, Good Friend is creating a video targeted for middle school audiences. As such, co-founders Chelsea Budde and Denise Schamens are inviting youth ages 12-15, grades 6-8 (’09/’10 school year), to audition for a part in the as-yet-untitled production. The casting call will be held at Citizens Bank of Mukwonago Training Center, 2109 Corporate Dr. (Hwy. 59 & Center Rd.),Waukesha, from 4-6 p.m., on Friday, May 21.

This will be the second video in Good Friend’s autism awareness-acceptance-empathy line. It will be used both during Good Friend’s staff and student services, as well as sold to the general public. Our current DVD for elementary school has sold nearly 150 copies in 14 states, and has been screened for thousands of people since its 2007 release.

Those accepted for the project will neither receive compensation nor have any right or expectation to royalties or dividends in the future. What people who are part of this project will have is the satisfaction of helping create a better social atmosphere for all kids in middle school!

Good Friend is looking specifically for students with ASD who would be comfortable being interviewed on-screen, plus a handful of “regular education” students to act out parts of the script. Only one of those latter roles will involve speaking, but all auditions will include reading a portion of the script. All auditions will be taped for the purpose of determining suitability for the available roles.

Parents or guardians of interested students should contact Denise (phone 262-391-1369, or email to schedule their child’s audition time or with any questions. Slots are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One big, happy ohana ...

This Sunday, at least 150 people will come to Waukesha and participate in Good Friend's 2nd annual "Hoa Aloha Autism Awareness Bowling Event". And if it's anything like last year, it will be a fun, if not downright inspiring, day! But even the weeks leading up to this event have been so meaningful for our nonprofit.

We're seeing families of bowlers rallying around this cause in unprecedented ways. One bowler's grandfather challenged his family to donate generously, promising to match their collective donations -- an he HAS! For this family, it's not about the iPad promised to the Top Fundraiser -- it's about creating autism awareness, teaching acceptance of differences, and fostering empathy for students with ASD among their typically-developing peers.

Will you please join us? Whether you register your team today, come to the bake sale on Sunday, buy tickets for the Brewers-Cubs game raffle, or just donate to one of the bowlers, we want you to feel the spirit of aloha in this big happy ohana we call Good Friend.

Online donations and registrations are due by midnight Thursday (TODAY). All other registrations and donations can be turned in on Sunday. Call 414-510-0385 with any questions. Happy National Autism Awareness Month!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Registration Now Open for Bowling Event, April 18!

I don't know that we'll be able to capture the beauty of hibiscus and the warmth of Oahu, but I know we'll have the spirit of Aloha at Sunset Bowl and Entertainment Center in Waukesha, Wis., on Sunday, April 18, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m.! Good Friend's 2nd annual "Hoa Aloha Autism Awareness Bowling Event" is now taking team registrations. You can register your team ONLINE this year through our website. Team registration is a $100 donation, which can be sponsored by a business or individual. Choose your start time: 11:30 a.m. or 1:45 p.m. GREAT prizes this year, including an Apple iPad, passes to Discovery World, and more! Get more info here:

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

DVD up for 2010 ASA Excellence in Media Award!

"How Can I Be a Good Friend to Someone with Autism?" is being nominated for the Autism Society of America's Excellence in Media Award this year! We need a statement from you about how it's impacted your classroom. Please send a well-written sentence or two to in the next few days to send along with the nomination essay.

Monday, January 25, 2010

What do you say, Middle School?

Have you heard that 1:110 children in the U.S. has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)? That’s a lot of kids, when you
compare to most other childhood conditions. Good Friend is dedicated to making sure these students with ASD have good friends in their community. For the past two years, we’ve been conducting staff and student services in elementary schools to create autism awareness, teach acceptance of differences, and foster empathy for students with ASD. Chelsea Budde and Denise Schamens, co-founders, have been to state, regional, and national conferences on autism and education as parents and professionals and have heard a running theme: Good Friend needs a product and service at the middle school level tailored to them! So let’s talk about it!

  • WHO we're looking for: 100 positive people who have something to say. A mix of 50 students, some with autism and/or other special education needs and some “regular ed” students. Plus 50 adults: 10 parents, 10 general education teachers, 10 special educators, 10 paraprofessionals, and 10 other school service providers (including therapists, guidance counselors, social workers, bus drivers, etc.).
  • WHAT we're planning: A Community Conversation, “Let’s Talk Good Friends and Autism”, in the World CafĂ© style ( A light dinner and refreshments will be served.
  • WHY we're hosting this event: The target audience for Good Friend’s video will be students in grades 6-8, ages 12-15, so it needs to answer the questions this group has. The curriculum developed for the staff and students needs to be relevant to their experience.
  • WHEN it's scheduled: Thursday, March 11, 2010; 6-8 p.m.
  • WHERE we'll meet: Steinhafels’ Community Room, W231 N1013 County Hwy. F, Waukesha
  • HOW to get involved: Contact Denise (phone 262-391-1369, or email by February 8 and provide your name, age, phone number, email address, and category (as described above in WHO) *. *This information will be kept confidential within the Community Conversation.
Spaces are reserved on a first-come, first-served basis, so RSVP quickly!

This event was made possible by a generous grant from the Natural Supports Project of the
Waisman Center and University of Wisconsin-Madison.