With bad weather in the forecast, this year’s Light It Up Blue ceremony took place inside Seaford City Hall last Tuesday. The ceremony is held each year as part of world Autism month.
“Awareness is the key to bringing everybody’s attention to this issue,” Rep. Danny Short said after quoting Dr. Seuss: “Why fit in when you were born to stand out.”
Jim Watson of Nanticoke Health Services spoke about Project Search, which provides young people with Autism learn job skills to transition into the job market.
“I invite everybody to be open to all of the differences that we all have,” said Watson, who has a son with Down syndrome. “Please open your hearts to citizens with disabilities, citizens with Autism, citizens with Down syndrome.”
Seaford Vice Mayor Dan Henderson spoke on behalf of Mayor David Genshaw, who lost his voice. He pointed out the words on the flyer for the event: increase understanding and acceptance.
“These words epitomize what this month is all about. I don’t think its about trying to change these people as much as it is about trying to change us,” Henderson said.
Seaford Superintendent of Parks and Recreation Katie Hickey thanked the Windley family, who helped start the event in Seaford. “We are the ones that are so thankful for you all. We are so grateful and blessed to have such a strong family in our community,” Hickey said.
Marcia Windley introduced her family before speaking about speaker Dana Bowe, the Delaware State Teacher of the Year who came back to Seaford to teach.
“Each individual with Autism has different capabilities, a different journey and a different outcome,” Bowe said. “We are the change. Our community is the new generation of inclusiveness.”
“One of the things that we’re trying to do tonight is to make people aware about Autism,” added Seaford Superintendent Dave Perrington, who pointed out that one in 59 children are on the Autism spectrum.
The ceremony concluded with Marcia and Carlyle Windley’s granddaughter, Sarah, lighting the blue lights indoors.