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 We have found that the Artists’ Collective for Social Change and its artists have given the children and teens that participate in the Odyssey Program the opportunity to get in touch with their creative talents which helps them express their past trauma and pain. They can then move on to devote more energy to those untapped talents that reflect who they are and who they can become.   
                                                 Rose Zeltser, Senior Vice President, Children’s Aid and Family Services
I would like to introduce myself. My name is Lynda Grace Monahan I am a mother of a 27 year old with Autism. In the beginning of my journey it was totally impossible to find a place in society that accepted us. It was also impossible to find people who had any understanding of our situation. The word Autism was not part of the English language. It was difficult to find any true understanding of autism even in the world of developmental disabilities. It wasn’t until the year 1990 that Rain Man was produced when Autism started to be even spoken about. My son is now considered high functioning. Between 1990 and 2003 Chris was accepted into a school and into the every day world only through the speaking circuit for developmental disabilities. When we met up with Alexis Marnel, it was unbelievable how she picked up on my Christopher. We were at a picnic and she asked someone about him. It was like a magnet was pulling her towards my son. This was quite unusual because most people would back away. She already had a play that she knew he could be perfect for. I said “a play”? “You mean a role in a play”? That is when the pieces of our world started to find a place in the society for us. Then we did some speaking engagements in New York. The Artists Collective for Social Change is now a part of our lives. These people are not only part of us; they have inspired me to start to explore the possibilities of my own potential in the arts. The artists have encouraged me to pursue my own talents in writing and maybe even acting. We are both members of the Artists Collective ADA (American Disabilities Act) advisory board. It is my privilege to write about my experience because I want to encourage your support for this organization. I know in my heart and my life they helped me come out of that dark place I was shoved into because of things the world didn’t understand. I believe that if they could have access to more financial support they can and will help others like myself and my son. So please give a piece of yourself to them so that they can fulfill and help the needs of others. Thank you.

 Hello there, I like to introduce myself, my name is Christopher Gagliardi, and I am 27 years old and am an ADA advisory board member as well as an artist for the Artists' Collective of Social Change. I am also autistic. I am writing today because I want to share with you what the Artists' Collective community did for me and how the play that fellow member Arthur Wilson wrote, “Words for The Journey” have played a key role in my life. Words for the Journey have been one of the many opportunities that has helped me understand what society’s views of the physically and mentally challenged really have been. It has also given me the opening of my eyes so that I can see how much more I personally can challenge in my life. Now I totally realized because I have been very fortunate that I can do certain things that a LOT of people who have a physical or mental challenge cannot do, I know I totally need to stand up and the Artists' Collective community has opened the door for me to go sincerely further.

The Artists' Collective for Social Change, under the strong leadership of Alexis Marnel and many others who are the defender of the arts, music, and free speech movement have been many of my allies in helping me see more potential and that I can be who I want to be, and they will always protect me in times of distress and uncertainty. Surely, they know what they do and what kind of leadership we, as a group, can set for the society, so that society can start to see and accept and truly look at people who have the physical and mental challenges in society. I may not be a celebrity yet, but I’m one of the many people who have truly appreciated this prestigious group and people who have the compassion and care to really protect the arts, music, and spoken word’s rights to exist. Without this group, I wouldn’t have this opportunity to explore other areas of entertainment as well.

I encourage you all, from the bottom of my heart, to please support this wonderful and magnificent organization because they really are an organization of, by and for the arts. Thank you all very much!!!
Christopher Gagliardi

Please Help! In order for us to reach our goal of serving underserved populations by placing relevant, quality arts education programs in various schools and treatment centers, we need your support! No donation is too small! Thank you for your support Sincerely, Alexis Marnel, Director Catlin Cobb, Artistic Director
Thank you for visiting us. Please click on the links to find out more information.

Alexis Marnel
The Artists' Collective For Social Change, Inc.
E-mail: amarnel@aol.com
Website: www.artistscollective4socialchange.org
Discover New Jersey Arts

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/ Department of State a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.