Peter Kelly

Multimedia content creator with an MA in Digital Communication and Media Arts and BA in Journalism from DePaul University. Well-versed in nonprofit communications. Favorite topics to cover include social issues, basketball, baseball and comedy.

Erik's Ranch & Retreats Volunteer Spotlight: SPS Commerce

Volunteers play a critical role in our mission of providing limitless opportunities for young adults on the autism spectrum. Our friends at SPS Commerce support our mission in many ways, and we're beyond grateful for the hard work of a recent group of volunteers they sent to help us clean up the ranch and put it in footings for our new yurt. Interested in volunteering with us? Please visit:

Veteran Serves Country, Community, and Children of Mercy Home

When we think of the veterans who defend our freedoms, the word “hero” often comes to mind. For Captain Jeff Dohnal of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, it’s a title that fits him well. Dohnal not only risks his life for our country, but also for the community as a Chicago police officer. And when he was injured in the line of duty in October 2019, he found a new way to become a hero for the children of Mercy Home.

Mercy Home Heroes Spotlight: Amanda Anderson

Without live sports during the COVID-19 pandemic, The Last Dance was a lifeline for spectators across the globe. While millions were gearing up for the final two episodes of the 10-part docuseries about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ dynasty of the 90’s, ESPN Senior Manager of Social Media Amanda Anderson was hard at work behind the scenes. Like the majority of viewers, Anderson can only dream of reaching the athletic pinnacle that Jordan and the Bulls did. But that hasn’t stopped her from finding her own piece of sports glory. Her championship moments take place on marathon race day.

Chuck Hits His Stride At Erik's Ranch

When he’s in the saddle with the reins firmly in his hands and mountain trails ahead – that’s when Chuck is in his element. At Erik’s Ranch, he feels at home. He has a place to pursue his passions, share his talents with the world, and earn a paycheck doing what he loves. All he needed was a chance, and thanks to people like you, he’s thriving. Please consider making a donation to support our mission of providing limitless opportunities for young adults on the autism spectrum:

Eric Aspires to be a Chess Master

Eric is a talented chess player and aspires to someday reach master level. At Erik's Ranch & Retreats, he is pursuing this dream and sharing his love for the game with others. He wants to show the world that he and everyone with autism can accomplish anything. Please consider making a donation to support our mission of providing limitless opportunities for young adults on the autism spectrum:

Volunteer Opportunities at Erik's Ranch

In the summer of 2021, a group from DiscoveryBound visited our ranch to volunteer and assisted with several projects, including clearing a new trail for our horseback rides. They worked side by side with our members on the autism spectrum and made a tremendous impact that will allow us to better sustain our mission for years to come. We're so grateful for their time and efforts! Interested in setting up a group volunteer trip to our ranch? For more information, please visit:

Lower the rims?

UConn women’s basketball head coach Geno Auriemma recently sparked an interesting debate when he suggested that rims be lowered by seven inches in women’s basketball. Auriemma has both critics and supporters on this issue. DePaul head coach Doug Bruno said that not only is he in favor of this idea, he tried to pitch it to Auriemma years ago. “When I was suggesting it, he would argue with me ‘nah, nah, nah.’ I never realized that my discussions with him were actually swaying him,” said Bruno.

Thriving With Autism: A Summer At Erik's Ranch

At Erik's Ranch & Retreats, our mission is to provide supportive living, a social community, and meaningful employment for young adults on the autism spectrum. One of the unique ways we fulfill this mission is by giving several of our members the opportunity to spend their summer living and working on our guest ranch in Paradise Valley, MT. They enjoy leading horseback riding tours, hiking tours, serving as concierges for travelers who visit us from around the world, and experiencing the local attractions. Please consider making a donation to support our mission:

Mercy Home Heroes Spotlight: Will Smith

It’s 4:30 a.m. on Father’s Day, and Will Smith is already dressed in his green and white Mercy Home Heroes singlet. In the pitch dark, he prepares to hit the road before the relentless Arizona sun awakens. He isn’t just heading out for a quick jog – he’s going 26.2 miles – the last leg of a four-day running binge. It’s his own version of the Disney Dopey Challenge, and he’s dedicated it to raising money for the kids at Mercy Home for Boys & Girls.

The Effects of Childhood Trauma

At some point in our lives, most of us will have to deal with a traumatic event. Trauma can be difficult for anyone to process, but it can be especially difficult for children. Unfortunately, being exposed to trauma is a way of life for many kids, and takes place in many forms: physical abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, exposure to domestic violence or gun violence. These experiences shape the way a child interacts with the world, and if left untreated, can lead to serious problems now, and in the future.
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