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2018 Updates and Reviews

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2017 was an incredible year for programs with families. Our teen program has seen some success as have our connections with programs and schools in the community. We were able to visit schools like New Story, Donegal High School and Salisbury Elementary school in the last few months of the year to help with our goal of helping kids feel included, respected and to deter bullying and foster a greater understanding about autism.

2018 is shaping up to be no slouch either. We have already started planning out various events including our support meetings, Egg Hunt, the 2018 Edge of Autism Walk & Festival and some special trainings.

As for our support meetings, we do have some small changes over the next few months since our irreplaceable Support Meeting Coordinator, Kira, is going to be welcoming a new wonderful addition to her family.  Our next support meeting will be on Monday, Feb. 12th from 6:30-8:30pm in Stager Hall, Franklin and Marshall College.  In March, Director of Advocacy, Shelly Koch will be taking the helm at our usual meeting time to discuss IEPs. Questions can be submitted by emailing her at  Additionally that month we have a Guardianship and Financial Planning seminar with Orrstown Bank and the law firm of Kling & Deibler, LLP on Saturday, March 17th.  Please make sure to follow our calendar of events or our public Facebook events page for updates.

Lastly for now, we did finally get approval for our Edge of Autism Event—Time & Space for Saturday, May 5th, 2018.  We are so excited to be having the event in what we hope will be warmer and nicer weather so everyone can enjoy the day. Many preparations are already well under way and we are officially co-hosting the event this year with New Story School (Mountville PA).  Our event will again be at Buchanan Park, Lancaster PA and we are certainly looking for ideas, volunteers and sponsors so let us know how you want to be a part of our Family Reunion and biggest day of the year.

You can register for the event at:
Email for any questions you might have!

We hope to continue to count on your support and participation with the families we serve this year.  Check out this awesome slideshow as well of some of our favorite memories from 2017.

Thank you!




New Autism School in Lancaster – NHS School

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Does your child have Autism or Emotional Support needs? Are you looking for a new school for your child? NHS School Lancaster is now enrolling students ages 5-21 on all levels of the Autistic Spectrum and students that need emotional support. Our school offers highly individualized programming for each student, and includes services driven by the principles of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA). We offer intensive learning and instruction, small group instruction and natural environment teaching. Additionally, individual support services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and one-on-one support staffing are also included, as appropriate, for every student.  At NHS, we work with the school district and families to individualize each student’s learning.

 Our staff is trained in Trauma Informed Care and we continuously conduct emotional check-ins with students daily or as needed. Ask us about our morning meetings and social curriculum!  Our classrooms are designed for safety and we provide small group emotional support sessions daily.

 Are you looking for your child to learn life and transition skills that will foster integration into the community? NHS ensures that each student is working on transition skills that fit the students’ and families’ needs.  Through preference and skill assessments, we are continuously working on developing transition skills to prepare students for the future.  We are excited about partnerships we are forming within the Lancaster community.

I welcome you to take a tour of our school located at 2120 Oregon Pike Lancaster, PA and visit our website at We also had a recent article on us in Lancaster Newspapers.

Please feel free to contact the director:

 Kelly O’Byrne at or by phone: 717 947 7493

Fall Dad’s Day a Success (except for our scores)

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The Fall 2016 Dad’s Day at High Sportz was pretty amazing, I have to say!

We started off with a great BBQ courtesy of Dave, caught up on opening day in the NFL, the new school year for our kids, and then proceeded to hit the racing track. Minus one stalled car for Everett, we raced it pretty well. Then we hit the mini-golf course, and let’s just say you can tell we don’t get out much anymore. Congrats to Everett for the win however, and Jacobo for a close second.

We closed out the night with some time at the batting cages. High Sportz was nice enough to stay open a little later for us, and we appreciate it.

Dad’s Day is a time for Dad’s to get out, make some new friends or see old ones, and take part in some friendly competition. Very friendly. So friendly in fact, that no one got run over this time in their race car. Which means we’re making progress.

Thanks again to all the Dad’s and Granddad’s that came out. We’ll be doing it again soon, and if anyone wants to help put it together, contact Rich or Sugey. See you in the winter!


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2016 Spring Newsletter is Out!

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The 2016 spring newsletter is out for the Tommy Foundation.

Download it here.

Tommy Foundation Support in 2014

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The following organizations received TTF support for families to attend their programs this year:

Training was provided free of charge to 90 students from LINK of Elizabethtown College, a student organization that buddies college students with children on the spectrum from the community.

Training and direct support is continually provided to Students for Autism, a Franklin and Marshall College club that partners children with autism with a college buddy. This organization additionally provides childcare for our families for our support meetings and engages with the families in bowling outings as well as events of their own.

Autism mom, Greta Smith, who is also a certified Dance Therapist received a scholarship to attend The Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC in order to better provide programs for our community. The Autism Movement Therapy Program at Encore Dance Center was set up thanks to these efforts.

Two families received direct assistance to get equipment for their homes to help with wandering prevention with their children who have elopement issues.

13 families received assistance right before the Thanksgiving Holiday in the form of Pajamas and books from our partner Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories and/or food that TTF provided to them for the Holidays.

132 children enjoyed Sensitive Santa this Holiday in either Lancaster County or NYC Chapters. All of the children received presents. Lancaster Presents were provided by Toys for Tots.

Families of children and individuals with autism received numerous respite events, including bowling, monthly support meetings, special events, craft days, mom and dad day outings, Lancaster Public Library art show, and more.

Dad’s Day a Crashing (uh – Smashing) Success

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Some of the autism dad’s and families for the Tommy Foundation got together on Sunday, December 21st at Slick Willies in Wyomissing to mourn the loss of the Eagle’s season as well as race some go-karts. A few car crashes, spin outs, and drifting back-ends later, the undisputed racing champs were crowned – a tie for Randy and Dave after 3 long races!

Afterwards we had some good eating at the Works watching the Steelers earn their playoff berth and catching up with each other. Lots of great memories, bragging rights, and a few (small) competitive bruises for this one. Note: Brake BEFORE turns… really, it helps.

Looking forward to next time for sure! Tactical laser warfare anyone?

Happy Holidays From the Tommy Foundation

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The Original and First Providers of Sensitive Santa

The Tommy Foundation, Lancaster County Chapter, 4th Annual

We wanted to say some special thanks for those that participated in our December main event—Sensitive Santa. For Lancaster, this was our 4th year doing this particular event and it couldn’t have gone better. We had to make some changes to make it a truly, sensory and enjoyable experience for families that needed it and everyone kept stating how much they loved the opportunity to have Santa to themselves for 15 minutes and without a lot of the commotion normally associated with a larger venue.

Special thanks to The Shank and Herbster families for everything you did to put this day together from finding Santa to volunteering as a Santa’s helper, baking cookies,decorating and more. Thank you to Scott Bledsoe of Ryan’s Hope Imagery and Tyler Strausbaugh of Tyler Strausbaugh Visuals for your time and talent with taking the pictures. Thank you to Julia Kelman and The Students for Autism Club at Franklin and Marshall College as well as the Asian Cultural Society for setting up an afternoon of fun for your buddies so they could enjoy some crafts and activities since we did have the change in venue that couldn’t really accommodate this aspect that so many of them did love. Immense thanks to “Toys for Tots” for giving us presents again for our families. As always this adds a very special touch for our families and brightens up the kids holidays. Finally thank you to Susan Luu, Kim Shank and Rich Everts for helping with baking all the cookies for both Sensitive Santa dates and the Buddy session.

This year we had a special day dedicated to families that had some more need for extra special holiday cheer so we had a separate ice cream social right before Thanksgiving that included food items for those that requested it as well as pajamas and books from long-time partner Alyssa’s Bedtime Stories.

The Tommy Foundation, NYC Chapter, 3rd Annual

We wish to thank the families and volunteers that made the 3rd Annual Sensitive Santa Event in the city so special. Thank you to:

President, Kat Harrison and her loving family for all you do for the community and your tireless efforts to help bring joy to others during the Holidays. We couldn’t put on an event like this without a location so thank you to Church of The Resurrection for allowing us to use your space for the event. Our long time volunteers and the new who give so much of their time and energy have a special place in our hearts–Yveline, Carlyn, Elena, Rito, David, Cassandre, Jean, Antonella, Leslie. Thank you Sheilah for taking the time out of your day to take the pictures for the families. Thank you to Melody of Autism for providing us with extra hands to work directly with the children to keep them entertained and imbued with the Holiday spirit. Bielka of Cruz ‘N Fun, thank you for your wonderful face painting and balloon twisting. Finally, there would be no Santa event without Kris Kringle himself and some presents so many thanks to Santa Joe and Maria Alfonso for your time and the gifts for the children.

Lastly, we recently had some special events and we wanted to thank the moms and dads that attended our first ever Holiday Gift Exchange for moms at TGI-Fridays and the dad’s day out at Slick Willie’s Indoor Carting.

Happy Holidays and thanks everyone for a wonderful 2014!


Tommy Foundation Receives Grant at AMBUCS Charity Event

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The Lancaster American Business Club hosted its annual fundraiser at Garth Gallery in Columbia, PA. The Tommy Foundation was excited to be counted alongside four other amazing non-profit charities selected by the Lancaster AMBUCS Chapter to receive monetary awards for their work in the community – SALSA Baseball of Lancaster, Schreiber Pediatric, Meal on Wheels of Lancaster, Tommy Foundation & PowerPacks Project. It was an amazing night had by all, and over 100 people were in attendance!— at the Garth Gallery & Custom Frame Shop.

Tommy Foundation Helps Fulton Opera House With Sensory Friendly Performance

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On Monday, October 27th, 2014, The Tommy Foundation was honored to participate in The Ware Center at Millersville University Lancaster’s performance of “The Snail and The Whale” a Sensory Friendly production. TTF President, Sugey Cruz-Everts met with Barry Kornhauser ahead of the performance to discuss the needs of those with sensory needs—the need for a quiet area, a gross motor area and an area for other activities that would help with setting the children at ease before the performance.

The folks at Tall Stories, a British theater company known for its unique brand of physical storytelling performed this adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s children’s book “The Snail and the Whale,” a story about a tiny snail that wants to see the world and the whale that serves as her transportation.

For this performance, which can be enjoyed by all children, there were supports and resources for young patrons with sensory process disorders, Autism Spectrum Condition, other sensory needs, learning disabilities, and/or social, cognitive, and physical challenges. Our role the day-of was to provide on hand support for families that needed a bit of prep time before the event. We brought sensory mats, games and activities to a specially designated area of the Ware Center that would be set up an hour before the event and during the event if children in attendance needed a sensory break in order to better enjoy the performance.

Prior to the performance date, a Study Guide AND a Social Story describing the theater experience was sent to patrons who also had the option of arranging a free tour of the Ware Center by contacting Barry at or phoning (717) 871-7812.

Tommy Foundation Provides LINK Training at Elizabethtown College

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On Saturday, Oct. 11th, 2014 TTF President, Sugey Cruz-Everts and Director of Autism Support Services, Kimberly Shank, who is also an occupational therapist, trained 90 students at Elizabethtown College’s LINK Program. Link is a student-run club at Elizabethtown College dedicated to creating a community between college students and children with autism. Their programs include: The Explorers Club (Age 5-12): Each year Link matches college students with children in the community. Each college student spends a few hours each month with his or her buddy in or out of the child’s home. These one-on-one matches create strong bonds between the children and students. The Social Skills Group (Ages 12-18): This group plans one event per month in a group setting. Events range from movies to bowling trips and provide an opportunity for participants to get out and have a great time with their peers. Club Events: Each year Link holds club-wide events that bring all of the college students and community participants together. Events can be on-campus or off-campus. These events are a great way to build friendships and just have fun!

For more information about the programs provided by LINK please email: To request a training for your organization or club please contact contact us.