By Alex Gonzalez, Financial Consultant at Thrivent Financial

Alex GonzalezThe story that brings me to Hammer Residences is somewhat selfish. I connected with Hammer because my wife Simone and I have a son with high functioning autism and Asperger Syndrome. His name is Jake. I have sought out new connections, both personally and professionally on our journey with Jake. Hammer has become an integral part of that journey.

I sought out Hammer as a potential resource for Jake (thus the selfish part) for when he became an adult if he needed such supports. He is now 20 years old, still under our wings, but showing strong signs of independence. So, he may not need the services that Hammer provides, but having such a trusted resource in our lives provides a lot of confidence for the future.

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Along the way, Cate Saracen-Peters, Director of Training and Education, has encouraged me to share some of my professional background with the Hammer community. Through special needs financial planning and values-based money management workshops, I have been able to share some of my knowledge with others. I hope that it has helped the special needs community at least a little bit. As the disability community has been a blessing to our family in our journey with Jake, my goal is to give back in as meaningful a way as I can.

So, if you are a Hammer family member or guardian, I encourage you join us for the upcoming Family Education Forum this spring. There are many resources available – skills, knowledge and experience we provide each other. This sharing of resources is an especially important aspect because no one knows it all. We can all learn from each other, and I am happy to be part of it. Thank you and I hope to see you in a few weeks!