DARKE COUNTY — Darke County residents may have noticed distinctive blue light bulbs in front of a neighbor’s house, or in front of their favorite local business, at some point during the last few weeks.
“If you drive through Darke County, whether it be on someone’s home or a business, and you see a blue bulb, it’s for autism awareness,” Darke County Aktion Club advisor Sue Huston said.
Aktion Club members have been speaking to local business owners and elected officials about the ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign, a national program taking place throughout the month of April, which is Autism Awareness Month. They have also supplied cooperating homeowners and businesses with blue bulbs donated by Lowe’s and Walmart.
Aktion Club advisors Huston and Cheryl Pressly, both with the Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities, say that the club’s participation in the ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign is just one example of their desire to serve their community.
“It’s about bringing awareness to the community,” Huston said. “Letting the community know about their skills and abilities, and everything that they can give back.”
Huston serves as the group’s community connections coordinator, and Pressly as their resource coordinator. The Aktion Club’s Mission is to provide adults with disabilities an opportunity to develop initiative and leadership skills, as well as the chance to serve their communities.
“This is our second year,” Huston said. “During our first year members donated over 1,000 hours working on various service projects.”
Some of the group’s members, according to Huston, thought that participating in the Light It Up Blue campaign would be a good way to bring awareness about autism not only to members of their own group, but to the community as a whole.
“Almost everybody is affected by this,” Huston said. “Almost everybody has a friend, or a loved one, who is affected by autism.”
Blue bulbs can be seen outside the Darke County Courthouse and County Administration Building in downtown Greenville. The fountain inside the traffic circle downtown has also been lit up blue in recognition of the program.
“We really want to thank the community for all their support,” Huston said. “Whether it be the businesses that have donated, or those that have accepted our gifts of blue light bulbs, or posters.”
In addition to their work on autism awareness, the Aktion Club will be hosting a benefit at Lighthouse Christian Center April 28. Proceeds will go toward supporting Artistic Variations, a program for developmentally disabled residents and kids who are interested in the performing arts, offered by Greenville dance studio Final Bow. The event will also honor Nicole Lachat, a longtime member of Darke County’s developmentally disabled community, who passed away last year at the age of 31. The event was organized by Didi Howell, Lachat’s sister.
“Our members knew and loved Nicole, and I know they’re looking forward to supporting Didi,” Huston said.
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