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St. George siblings encourage neighbours to ‘Light It Up Blue’ - Apr. 02, 2014


Barb Rayner/Courier
Siblings Kerem Karyuz, seven, and Zelihan Karyuz, 10, have painted light bulbs blue which they are distributing to their neighbours on Clinch Street in St. George so they can “Light It Up Blue” in honour of World Autism Awareness Day Wednesday evening.

Barb Rayner
St. George
Siblings Zelihan Karyuz, 10, and Kerem Karyuz, 7, are doing their part to draw attention to World Autism Awareness Day on Wednesday by distributing blue light bulbs to their neighbours on Clinch Street.
Each April 2, Autism Speaks celebrates “Light It Up Blue” along with the international autism community, in commemoration of the United Nations-sanctioned World Autism Awareness Day.
“Light It Up Blue” is a unique global initiative that kicks-off Autism Awareness Month and helps raise awareness about autism. In honour of this day, many iconic landmarks, hotels, sporting venues, concert halls, museums, bridges and retail stores are among the hundreds of thousands of homes and communities that take part to “Light It Up Blue”.
Zelihan and Kerem are asking their neighbours to use the blue bulbs Wednesday evening to show their support for families living with autism.
They painted the bulbs blue and then packaged them up in bags to take around to neighbours. On the bags there is a message, “Help us light the street blue for World Autism Day April 2. Please use this bulb on Wednesday evening to show your support for families living with autism”.
Their mother, Sarah, explained that Zelihan has Aspergers syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder, so the family decided they would see if they could light up their street in blue in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day.
Sarah and her husband Sahin make every effort to ensure their children are aware that there are people in the world who are less fortunate than their family.
“We are trying to make sure they see the whole world. It is very important they empathise and have compassion for everybody. I think it is important for them to see how well off they are compared to other people.”
For two years in a row, Zelihan has hula hooped for a couple of hours – and she had bruised hips to show for it – to raise money for the St. George and area food bank to help pay for school supplies for those in need. The family also helps pack the Christmas hampers at the food bank.
Their next project is a “buddy bench.” Kerem explained this is a special bench which is put in the school yard where a child who is feeling lonely and has no one to play with can sit. The idea is that if other children at the school see someone sitting there, they will talk to them or ask them to play.
Their mother said the wood has been donated and they have someone who is willing to build the bench, which the family will paint and decorate, as well as permission from St. George Elementary to place it at the school.
Second-grader Christian Bucks of Roundtown, Pa., spotted a buddy bench in a brochure for a school in Germany and suggested one for his school to help foster friendship – and the idea is spreading.

barb@stcroixcourier.ca