This guest post is by Kim Niederst, the Area Director of Nationally Managed Walks.
On Friday, January 14, I headed to Dublin Coffman High School in Dublin, Ohio for the first Autism Puzzle Shootout. Not knowing what to expect, I was prepared to watch high school boys basketball. What I found was an army of students and faculty in blue t-shirts with “1 in 110” printed on the front. It was a true “Blueout” with the entire Dublin Coffman side of the gym in blue shirts – 600 in all! The players wore the shirts during warm ups, the cheerleaders cheered in their shirts, everyone replaced the tried and true Ohio scarlet and gray and went blue for autism awareness!!
During the week, the Dublin Coffman students sold all 600 tshirts, wristbands, raffle tickets and contenstant slots in minute to win it games which were held during half time. The students raised $4,000 to benefit Autism Speaks and the Autism Society of Ohio. A local car dealership joined the effort by donating $5,000 to the cause – so a $9,000 night for Dublin Coffman! Visit this link for video coverage of the Shootout!
And the fun doesn’t end with Dublin Coffman! There are 6 more Shootout events scheduled over the next three weeks.
- Tuesday, January 25 – Westerville South vs. Dublin Scioto
- Friday, January 28 – Grove City vs. Lancaster
- Friday, January 28 – Gahanna Lincoln vs. Pickerington Central
- Friday, February 4 – New Albany vs. Franklin Heights
- Thursday, February 10 – Hamilton Township vs. Amanda-Clearcreek
- Saturday, February 12 – Olentangy Orange vs. Olentangy
The Shootout is the brainchild of Jerod Smalley, NBC 4 Sports Director and father of two young boys diagnosed with autism. Smalley’s concept is to provide high school students with information about the autism epidemic and create a forum where they can show support for awareness and fundraising efforts in Central Ohio. Students will participate in a “Blueout” at each game and compete with other area schools in a fundraising effort. The winning school will receive free food for all students.
The Autism Puzzle is Central Ohio’s source for all things relating to autism. Powered by NBC 4, the Autism Puzzle is showcased through television specials featuring a live web chat and ask the expert phone bank, print magazine and web portal.
In working with NBC 4, I have realized the true power of a media partnership. Since 2008, NBC 4 has provided countless hours of air time – either through public service announcements or the anchors on the news broadcasts casually encouraging viewers to attend the Columbus Walk Now for Autism Speaks event. 4’s Army has raised well over $25,000 to advance the mission of Autism Speaks. I am honored to work with our partners at NBC 4 to increase awareness and understanding of autism spectrum disorders in the local community.
If you live in Central Ohio, please go to an upcoming Autism Puzzle Shootout. The energy in the gym is electrifying and you may even see yourself on TV as NBC 4 broadcasts live at many of the games. If you are not a Central Ohioan, check out the Autism Puzzle online at www.theautismpuzzle.org. It is a fabulous resource and who knows you may see the Autism Puzzle at your local station soon!
If you are a high school interested in hosting an event for Autism Speaks please check out our Student Initiatives Program.
If you are a college student interested in hosting an event please visit Autism Speaks U.