All Aboard for Kids strives to foster in all children, through thoughtful and inventive activities, growth in cognitive ability, retention of academic progress, as well as enduring social bonds with peers. Our organization promotes broad community support for the children and families who are impacted by autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities.
We are Mike and Lisa McCarty. We have lived in the Ames area for more than 20 years and have 5 children who currently attend Gilbert schools. Our youngest three children, Luke, Gabe and Isaac, have each been diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder.
We have found over the years that one of our most persistent frustrations has been finding enriching, fun and engaging summer activities for our autistic children. We founded All Aboard for Kids in 2016 with the intent of solving that problem — not only for our own kids, but for all the other families in similar situations in and around our community.
How Did We Get Our Name?
Many people have asked us why we chose “All Aboard for Kids” as the name for our organization. Because our boys — Luke, Gabe, and Isaac — were the inspiration behind us founding this organization, we decided to focus in on a name that reflected their interests. Trains were the only choice! As long as we’ve had little ones in our home, there have been trains. Over the years, all five of our kids have spent hours and hours reading Thomas the Tank Engine stories, building elaborate tracks or driving their trains on the floor, along the back of the couch, out on the porch, in the mud, in the snow, down the slide, on the trampoline…They have simply become an extension of our family. The kids are a little older now, and still, the trains remain — the track configurations have just gotten more interesting. The name “All Aboard for Kids” is a little nod to the important role trains have played in our family’s story.