A new memoir by author Jani Sblendorio, AKA The Teacher with the Cardinal Tattoo, is benefitting Woods Services, with the writer, who is the mom of a Woods resident, donating proceeds from the first 100 books to support Woods’ Secret Santa Program. Val–Len-Mine: Autism RIP is an expression of Jani’s love for her son, Val, and the story of the family’s journey with autism. While the donation from the October 18 book release is a gift to the Secret Santa Program, the 194-page, independently published book is also a gift to families and professionals who will benefit from the honest way Jani shares her family’s experiences. The Sblendorio Family are also donating 25 winter hat and gloves sets to Woods residents in honor of the first 25 people who purchase the book.
“When writing Val-Len-Mine: Autism RIP, I wanted families who have struggled on a very isolated journey to feel that they are not alone,” Jani wrote. “I wanted those people who chose to work in this field to really see the value of what they do,” and that what they do can not only change the lives of their students and clients, but it can change the lives of the families of those students and clients, too, she shared.“Through this release I hope to take my love of this community just a step further and truly make a difference this holiday season.”
Proceeds from the book launch and the donation of winter outerwear are just two ways the author, who is a teacher, is giving back. She is also donating the book to libraries to help educate families about autism through her family’s story. It was her own library research that helped lead to Val’s autism diagnosis. The experience also resulted in Jani founding a nonprofit, United By Autism, to buy and donate books to libraries so other families won’t feel as lost as she did at that time.
Val-Len-Mine: Autism RIP sells for $15, and can be ordered through this link: https://interland3.donorperfect.net/weblink/WebLink.aspx?name=E344053&id=24&fbclid=IwAR2KIjqqzJZSVXiZ53cBsbiwm1e19Ufof7N5JPwD61g0HG0wmT5mmFDKTUE. Later this year, Woods will be holding a virtual book club with the author via Zoom.
This is Jani’s second book. Her first, “The Teacher with the Cardinal Tattoo,” which she describes as “an interactive way to have a conversation with a student or loved one who may be struggling with who they are,” is a resource for teachers, social workers, speech therapists, counselors, and caregivers, she adds. “It gives the young person a way to draw how they feel as the book is being discussed so they can minimize the pressures of a face-to-face interaction.”
Woods Services Secret Santa Program
The mission of the Woods Services Secret Santa Program is to ensure that no Woods resident goes without receiving gifts during the holiday season. For more than 25 years, community friends and Woods employees have fulfilled wish lists for residents who remain with Woods through the holidays. If you are interested in participating as a Secret Santa this year, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.