Monday, April 20, 2015

Autism Awareness Day and the NYC Craft Entrepreneurship Program

April 2, almost three weeks ago, marked Autism Awareness Day. The official color for this day is blue so my sons and husband were all sporting azul on their way to school and work. I was still in my PJs (they were not blue) since I didn't have anywhere to be until later that evening. 

That evening, I would be attending the graduation ceremony for the first group of students I taught from the  NYC Craft Entrepreneurship Program. I didn't know what I was going to wear to the event, "should I wear blue?" I thought. I didn't have any blue clothes. It's not my favorite color and I don't really buy or make anything blue. This event was not autism related, I didn't have to dress the part but, with two on the spectrum, autism is a HUGE part of my life. I wanted to stand in unison with my community, even if quietly, to myself.  I decided to take a second look in my closet. As I was rummaging through my clothes, I spotted a blue and white dress my husband gave me (like I said, I would not have bought it myself.) It was perfect.

When I got to the graduation venue, I began to greet my students when one of them, Daysi, commented, "oh, you're wearing blue for Autism Awareness day right?" I am glad she acknowledged it. I had forgotten that I always mention this at the beginning of each of my classes. It is, in fact, the reason I decided to open my  Etsy shop. Now there were two people who knew why I was wearing blue. I blurted out a resounding YES! and we went on with our celebration. 

Dan would definitely be the one in orange, invading M's space
Some of the students gave me gifts, their own hand made creations that they sell. This, I was not expecting. It was so generous of them! One such gift were these beautiful handmade dolls from Mio Mucaro. I opened the package, on the train, on my way home. Two super hero dolls, both boys. I am sure they were to represent my two sons, both on the spectrum, both my heroes. Perhaps now three people knew why I was wearing blue. 

Right there on the D train, I cried silently. On this Autism Awareness day, while I thought I was quietly celebrating it by myself, there were people all around me who were kindly, sweetly,  acknowledging it. Erika Nazario, owner of Mio Mucaro, is a beautiful quiet soul herself but her gesture, and her dolls,  spoke volumes, loud and clear. 

As I share my story, my community continues to expand, way beyond those affected by autism and I am grateful.  

My beautiful and talented students who graduated from the NYC Craft Entrepreneurship Program. From left: Daysi Fernandez, Carla Giannina, Erika Nazario, me , and Lilian Fernandez

Want to know more about my students and view their work? 

The beautiful, whimsical dolls made by Erika from Mio Mucaro can be found by clicking on her Etsy shop,  here. 

Carla from Hatmade makes exquisite, non-traditional bridal accessories and fine headpieces. For her Etsy shop, click here

Daysi from Daysi Collection creates head-turning fashion, some inspired by African prints. Click here for her FB page. 

Lilian from GYLKEY Collection makes gorgeous crochet garments and accessories. I own one of her beautiful infinity scarves and will blog about it separately. Click here for her FB page.

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