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P.S. 304 speaks up for Autism

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Autism Speaks, as the official motto goes, and this local school did its part to listen.

During the Autism Awareness Month, teachers and staff members at P.S. 304, provided opportunities for students to learn about autism as well as helping to raise money for autism research.

Sudents and teachers came up with a number of creative ways to support their cause, said principal Joseph Nobile,

To kick off the month, kindergarten students held a lunchtime bake sale, with all pastries and cakes decorated in the symbolic blue.

“So far the bake sale has raised $629,” Noble said in the midst of the April drive. "Everyone is doing something to raise money. When you walk into the school we have pins for sale with a blue autism puzzle piece on them, which is the sign for autism awareness,” he said. “We also have a raffle going on for an Easter basket, and a change collection on the counter of our book store.”

Nobile said the activities and fund-raisers at the school included such things as creating blue artwork to be hung throughout the school, a blue frame and art craft sale, constructing blue puzzle shaped pieces, and a blue fun run to raise money.

On April 30, fifth graders ran laps outside to raise money for autism awareness, Nobile said. They collected 25 cents per lap ran by each student, who had to find individual sponsors to pledge the money.

On April 2, students were allowed to wear blue jeans instead of student uniforms - by donating $5.

Nobile said one classroom of first graders were asked to color a paper puzzle piece blue, cut it out, and write on it why they are different than other people.

“We don’t wanna shock the kids with all of this, but we want to make them aware of what it is,” Nobile said of explaining the disability.

Nobile said he became involved advocating for autism awareness from dealing with children with disabilities attending P.S. 10 in the same school building.

“I also became very involved with the cause after my nephew who was five was diagnosed with autism,” he said. “I was inspired by both my nephew and the children in this building to get very involved, and I asked myself what can I do to help.”

Nobile has also started a foundation called the Bridges Ride for Autism, where people can make donations and ride their bikes across a number of bridges around the city on Sunday, July 22.

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