Clay County Set to 'Light It Up Blue'
Posted Mar. 26, 2014 @ 1:37 pm
April is recognized globally as Autism Awareness month and this year Clay County will join in efforts to bring autism awareness to our local community. In 2010, Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization in the United States, started the campaign 'Light It Up Blue: Shine a Light on Autism' to raise international awareness of autism as a growing public health crisis. The movement has taken off around the world and many historic landmarks such as The Empire State Building in New York City and the Willis Tower in Chicago shine blue lights on April 2, World Autism Awareness Day, to show their support for autism awareness.
Since 2010, Jasper Outreach, a mission of Integrated Therapy Services in Newton, IL has lead a local autism awareness campaign. This year, The Southeastern Illinois Autism Community was established to spread awareness to a larger region including Clark, Clay, Crawford, Cumberland, Effingham, Jasper and Richland counties. Southeastern Illinois Autism Community is a grass roots organization of parents, grandparents, therapists, teachers and community members who are touched by autism spectrum disorders and are dedicated to raising awareness, gathering resources and providing support for people affected by autism in our local communities. Currently there are over 200 families in Southeastern Illinois who are living with autism each day. Chances are you know someone who is affected by autism.
Throughout the month of April there will be many ways to help support people in our community who are living with autism. First, local businesses and community members are encourage to 'Light It Up Blue' by placing a blue light bulb in their porch light or by stringing blue Christmas lights in their windows. Harr's Ace Hardware in Flora has ordered a variety of different blue lights that can be displayed in your home or business and they are donated the proceeds of light sales to our local campaign. We are excited to see how you will light it up blue in the coming month.
The public is also encouraged to attend events for autism awareness. Each county in Southeastern Illinois Autism Community will be sponsoring events through out the month of April that will encourage Autism Awareness, education and action. On April 5th, Clay County will be kicking off Autism Awareness month with a balloon launch at 12 PM on the Flora City Ball Diamonds. This will be a great way to meet families and show support of our campaign. On April 26th, we will be having a Walk for Autism from 2-5pm at Charley Brown Park in Flora. Registration has already begun and will include a t-shirt and goodie bag. This will be a fun event for the whole family to attend and we hope to get people from all over the region to attend our walk. For more information about local events, you can visit our website at http://seilautism.weebly.com/ and like our page on Facebook page at www.facebook.com/SEILautism. If you would like more information about our cause or would like to help sponsor an event, please contact Stacey Rhodes at 618-662-4026.