Recently there has been a trend in Facebook Challenges.  In the dead of winter we began to see men (mostly young) posting video of themselves running around in the snow in shorts or underwear and then taking a swig of a cold drink and then nominating another 3 friends to do the same within 24 hours.  To what benefit, I am still not sure.  It was never proclaimed and to me just seemed like a trend of silliness.

Not long after the trend seemed to die down, we began to see women posting selfie’s with no makeup but it was in the name of Breast Cancer Awareness.

I have seen many posts of pictures or videos of various kinds of heart warming stories and I am of the impression that cancer, autism and various other diseases or disorders are very popular.  It tugs at the heart strings to see war vets with prosthetic limbs overcome and then turn things around to become the ones helping others.  We see the teams of kids gathering around a socially awkward peer on prom night and cheer them on from behind the computer screen with kleenex in hand.

To me this says that people want to help.  They click on the share buttons thinking that this will inspire and raise awareness.  I do it too.

But I have been wondering if people need more awareness?  Are there really people out there that don’t know what Cancer does to a body and their spirit?  Are there people out there who don’t understand autism?  With 1 in 88 you can’t avoid encountering a family or friend who isn’t affected by autism.

So I guess with World Autism Awareness Day approaching on April 2nd, I would suggest something other than clicking a like button or even wearing the blue.

I would like to suggest as another blogger did in this post to do something.

Having served on the Chapter Leadership Council of Autism Ontario Niagara for several years, one thing I have noticed is the need for volunteers who are not affected by Autism.  We had parent’s of kids with Autism working hard to make the organization run reasonably smoothy and raise the funds to run programs to serve other families with the same needs.

Parents volunteering who are stressed from constant meltdowns from their own children who can’t handle changes in routine or are frustrated with lack of communication skills.  Parents who spend an extraordinary amount of extra time taking their children to therapies, social groups and special training for fairly simple skills like riding a bike.  Parents who are running on very little sleep because their children have poor sleep.

I witness employees in an office working overtime hours trying to accomplish an impossible workload with a lack of manpower due to limited funds.

My mother and two of her friends who have retired from the library have volunteered every Thursday for 10 years at Autism Ontario Niagara to create a wonderful resource library that is available to anyone in the community to access.  These ladies not only allowed a tired parent a break from this duty but also provided a bright spot in the Thursdays of the office employees working tirelessly to improve the lives of families struggling with Autism.

If you really want to help, join a committee.  Get some friends together to accomplish a task, set a goal and work together to achieve it to help an organization!  It requires a commitment of time and energy and may involve a bit of frustration but it can also be a fun joint effort and most importantly, it will actually help.

I am on the resource committee and John is on the awareness committee at Autism Ontario Niagara, if you would like to join us, let us know.

Knowledge of Autism or Cancer is not required to participate in a walk to raise funds or to make posters or put library books away and I guarantee, you will be warmly greeted with huge smiles and gratefulness when you come in and say “I want to help, I don’t know anything about Autism but I want to help.”

If you prefer to run around in your shorts in the winter time then make an event of it and raise money!  It may be the means by which a child will learn to make friends or a woman to get a wig.

April 2nd is Autism Awareness Day, see if you can lend a hand and volunteer!

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