“Unfurling the gifts of Autism” is the theme of Hidden Wings, a ten-year old non-profit school in Solvang, that serves young adults with autism and other developmental delays. The Rotary Club of Solvang is adapting its “job shadowing” model to assist Hidden Wings toward achieving its vocational program goals for its students.

Under the model format, Solvang Rotarians will seek to identify and “recruit” business and other community leaders to serve as “Hosts” to students who will visit, work, and learn to focus, “…on their gifts, not their deficits, which empower them to lead full and productive lives in society”.  (Hidden Wings pamphlet)

The goal is for students to learn, not only job-specific skills, but also social skills.  Successfully serving these special-needs students requires consideration of both activity-appropriate Hosts, as well as desirable vocational pursuits.

In a “thank you” email following Hidden Wings’ recent presentation at Solvang Rotary, the Reverend James Billington, a Co-Founder with his wife Dr. Julia Billington, included the following sentiment:  “It is evident that the continuity of meetings, the light hearted fellowship and the seriousness of mission make the Rotarians so effective.  Rotarians might, once again, help another group of people to stand up on their own two feet.”