By Aaron Retherford
On Thursday, April 2, all around the world, iconic landmarks, businesses, sporting venues, schools, bridges, museums, and thousands of homes will be lit blue for World Autism Awareness Day to signal the start of Autism Awareness Month.
For the first time, Barre will be part of Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue global initiative, which helps bring recognition to those with autism.
The Autism Puzzle Foundation, which serves Vermonters who are on the autism spectrum, teamed up with the Spaulding High School Student Council in order to make sure Barre would Light It Up Blue.
“If it all comes together, it could look pretty cool driving down Main Street with all the blue lights,” Randy Lamberti, Chair of The Autism Puzzle Foundation Board of Directors, said.
Kelsi Ensminger, Vice President of the SHS junior class and the chair of the community service committee in the student council, heard about Light It Up Blue and reached out to Suzanna LaGue of the Autism Puzzle Foundation.
“I’ve participated in Special Olympics since middle school so I was excited that something so big and important was going to happen to spread awareness in our community,” Ensminger said.
In early March, Ensminger and fellow student council members Tori Biondolillo, Alicia Violette, and Emily Violette, helped the Autism Puzzle Foundation pass out blue lights and posters to Barre businesses, so they could light up their locations and learn about the event. The gazebo and trees at Barre City Park will be lit up from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. from April 2-30.
“We are so thankful for the opportunity we were given to participate in this project and can’t wait to see all the blue lights in Barre,” Ensminger said.
Autism Speaks suggests several ways for anyone to participate in Light It Up Blue, from switching out white light bulbs for blue bulbs, tinting windows with blue gel sheets or by simply wearing blue.
For more information on Light It Up Blue, go to www.autismspeaks.org/LIUB.