By Agnes CONSTANTE
A local teenager and her uncle have organized two fundraisers this upcoming weekend to raise money to purchase iPads for autistic children.
Dani Bowman, 17, is an autistic teenager who won an iPad in February after entering an animation contest. She decided to give the iPad to a non-verbal autistic child.
Patrick Eidemiller, Bowman’s uncle, said he has seen what iPads can do for those with autism. As a result, he and Bowman want to raise money for more iPads.
“It opens up a world of possibilities for them,” he said.
However, the fundraisers are just part of a larger project.
Eidemiller and Bowman are working with Extra Special Kids, a New York-based company that develops apps for kids with special needs. The company is also raising money for additional iPads.
To determine which children receive iPads, Eidemiller and Bowman have asked applicants to describe how the devices would make a difference in their lives.
“We’ve heard such great stories from people that it has really inspired us to raise more money to give away even more iPads,” Eidemiller said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 88 children has autism spectrum disorders. Symptoms could include problems with social interaction, language delays and unusual behaviors and interests.
Bowman received a Golden Goody Award on April 3 for her efforts in spreading autism awareness and because it’s autism acceptance month.
“Dani is more high functioning (on the autism spectrum) and what she’s doing is putting herself out there to encourage people to understand autism and to let people know they have strengths,” said Liz Kelly, founder and CEO of Goody Awards.
Among the things Bowman has done is illustrate two anti-bullying books and voice over a public service announcement about autism.
Kelly also donated an iPad and allowed Bowman to select the recipient.
One fundraising event will be held Saturday at The Wine Cave at 2427 Honolulu Ave. in Montrose from 7 p.m. until the facility closes. Guests will be able to purchase three different wines for $20 and participate in a silent auction of art by Autistic Artists.
Another fundraiser will take place on Sunday at Panche Hair and Nails at 2339 Honolulu Ave. from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. All proceeds from this event will go toward the purchase of iPads.
The iPads will be distributed on April 17.