Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Easterseals Midwest lights the way for Autism Awareness

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Easterseals Midwest has partnered with SEMO Alliance for Disability Independence, Inc (SADI). and Autism Awareness of Southeast Missouri (AASM) to host the fourth annual Blue Light Ball on Friday, April 12.

“A lot of our individuals have expressed that they never got to go to prom, or we never got to do any fun activities,” autism service manager at Easterseals Midwest Jordan Starr said.

The Blue Light Ball, an event to individuals with ability concerns during Autism Awareness Month, it provides those with autism the opportunity to have a more normal life and a safe environment for all individuals to feel accepted. By pairing with SADI and AASM they can dance, party, listen to music, eat food and feel welcomed, Starr said.

“This is the first year we have collaborated with AASM. Hopefully, that’ll really keep us going for the future,” she said.

A night at the Blue Light Ball is similar to a prom. Everyone dresses up how they want, go out to eat before arriving at prom. Once they arrive, there are photos taken, and flowers are given to them. There will also be a photo booth to utilize in between dancing and socializing with friends.

“At last years prom, there was one individual who loves music, but does not like dancing,” Starr said. “There was a couple of new staff member there that he really enjoyed working with and he got him to dance for a least one song. It was exciting to see him branch out a little bit more.”

Easterseals, a not-for-profit does other events throughout the year to give families the opportunity to feel accepted and also give the community a chance to get involved.

Starr said they have milk and cookies with Santa in December. It allows for members in the community to donate their time, give presents or just enjoy the atmosphere. They also host a back to school bash. The community is able to donate school supplies and then the supplies are given to Easterseals families.

“Blue Light Ball is specifically for autism awareness. We really try to emphasize the awareness piece of it,” she said.

To volunteer with Easterseals Midwest call (573) 339-9300 and there will be a volunteer application process that includes training. There is still time to donate food and drinks for the ball.

The Blue Light Ball is Friday, April 12, from 5 to 8 p.m. at SADI, 755 S. Kingshighway Cape Girardeau, MO 63703.