A fundraiser is looking to present autism in a better light.
The second annual Most Wanted Lights it Up Blue for Autism Fundraiser will be held on Friday, April 26 at 8 p.m. at McDermott’s Pub.
Mark Vasquez, Most Wanted Motorcycle Club Bronx Chapter president, and his friend John Paul, God’s Family Brothers Sisters Dedication president and co-founder, chose to hold the fundraiser to support local schools who provide education and services to children and their families with autism.
Having loved ones who are on the autism spectrum inspired Vasquez and Paul to create the fundraiser to better educate people on autism and explain the importance education has for children on the spectrum.
Their goal is to provide P.S. 12 Lewis and Clark School with its own portable wheelchair ramps.
Vasquez, a Castle Hill resident, said that the school currently borrows a wheelchair ramp from another school so its students can enter and exit the school.
Paul, a Morris Park resident, said they will also provide the school with anything its budget may not cover, such as tablets to help nonverbal students communicate with their teachers.
According to Autism Speaks, in 2018 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that approximately one in 59 children is diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder; one in 37 boys and one in 151 girls.
Autism, or ASD, refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
Paul’s daughter Khloe is autistic and has been nonverbal for most of her life.
He explained that Khloe’s autism makes it difficult for her to explain to him when she’s not feeling well and often causes her to become frustrated.
“They call it the spectrum because every child with autism is different, but they all have a hard time explaining how they feel or meeting new people,” Paul said.
Vasquez said that Lewis and Clark School assistant principal Cesar Nina and a few teachers will share their experiences teaching children with autism and better explain the disorder.
He hopes that the fundraiser will help parents with children on the spectrum to be more accepting of admitting their child has autism.
The fundraiser is free for everyone to attend and guests can purchase an arm’s length of raffle tickets, 10 to 15 tickets, for $20.
Prizes include a bully pitbull puppy; a timeshare for eight people to Clearwater, FL; a Smart TV; turkey fryer; Yankees and Mets tickets; free admission for one adult and three children to the New York Botanical Garden; free manicures and pedicures courtesy of Alex’s Salon and many others.
Vasquez and Paul thanked McDermott’s Pub for allowing them to host the fundraiser at their establishment and for their continued support.
If interested in donating, call Vasquez at (347) 340-7907 or mvasq