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Choose Blue for Autism

Megan Snyder, News Editor

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Choose Blue for Autism, a national organization for autism awareness, will be hosting several events this weekend April 21st-23rd in order to raise awareness and funds for autism agencies. Approximately 8,000 Iowans are diagnosed with autism according to the Choose Blue for Autism website.

Choose Blue for Autism is partnering with Faith Hope and Charity, Genesis Development, Elijah Reisenberg Autism Awareness Project, and Buena Vista University (BVU) for the event. This is Storm Lake’s 7th annual Choose Blue for Autism and the first year that BVU will be a partner. So far, Choose Blue for Autism has raised $32,000.

Marie Sennett is the 2017 coordinator for Choose Blue for Autism. “There’s three goals.” said Sennett. “One is the awareness, you know autism awareness—make people understand what it is, then the next thing is to raise money for these agencies because it’s desperately needed, and then the last thing is to thank Fred and Susan [Moore] for the last 22 years of giving to the community.”

“With President Moore and his lovely wife Susan having to move to Florida because they can’t get services here for their son, which is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard, I thought about [it] and said how about we do a fundraiser that’s a thank you present for [them].

President Moore is currently the president of BVU. Moore and his wife moved to Storm Lake in 1995. Their son, Stephen, has autism and was one of the first students with autism to enroll in the Storm Lake school districts.

“They were the people that a lot of parents would call when their kid first got a diagnosis for autism” said Sennett.

The weekend will start off with a silent auction and dinner on Friday the 21st, which will be hosted by the Elijah Reisenberg Autism Awareness Project. On Sunday the 23rd, the day will start off with a 5k race, followed by a Faith Hope and Charity Autism Awareness walk and balloon release. In the afternoon, there will be events such as Arch Stories, which will feature 7 speakers telling stories about their experience with the autism spectrum. There will also be a youth fair and a panel of experts to provide resources to those with questions.

The youth fair will feature different booths such as face painting, storytelling, community art projects, an obstacle course, and an adaptive technology booth. The booths will be run by student volunteers at BVU. The youth fair was largely organized by Teacher’s Inc., an education organization at BVU.

Choose Blue for Autism aims to raise $50,000 with this event to go towards autism resources and organizations in the state of Iowa.

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