April is Autism Awareness month. Always willing to lend a helping hand, Team Aruba has spoken on behalf of people with autism for years.
Beyond their on-track performance, Team Aruba is often known for their friendly faces and welcoming pit area. Their hospitality speaks to their generous nature. When given the opportunity to show kindness, the Eman family and Team Aruba crew jump on the chance. So when they met a family near their shop in Union, S.C. and got to know their story of raising an autistic child, Team Aruba jumped into action.
“When we saw firsthand that it is no easy task,” told Trevor Eman. “We wanted to offer a helping hand where we could.”
Team Aruba prominently placed an Autism Speaks (www.autismspeaks.org) decal on their car, set up a unique donation box, made from an old intake manifold, and became spokespeople at races and other events.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, refers to a range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication, as well as by unique strengths and differences. An estimated 1 in 68 children are autistic, with a higher percentage of boys than girls. About one third of autistic children will remain non-verbal.
“We have been supporting Autism awareness for a long time,” added Eman. “I’m always surprised at how many people come up to us and thank us for supporting the cause and get emotional about it. Raising autistic children comes with a wide range of challenges and many of those don’t stop as the children grow into adults. It is surely harder than it looks, and I think that is the reason people get emotional about it. The rest of the world probably doesn’t know the difficulty involved, but when people see us supporting the cause, they are often thankful that the cause is being given attention.”
Team Aruba worked with the family from Union to form a large team to participate in the Autism Walks in Charlotte, NC at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
“Throughout the years, we’ve really enjoyed meeting families affected by Autism and doing things to offer support, raise awareness, and raise funds. These stories really hit home when you meet the faces behind the diagnosis. It’s important for everyone to understand the behaviors, prevalence and range of complexities in autism. We’re so happy to support autism awareness and use our platform as a race team to give back.
“We’re always grateful to be out here doing what we love and we try not to take it for granted,” continued Eman. “We recognize that we’re in a place of influence and, whenever possible, want to use that for good. Promoting our island of Aruba through Aruba.com and the Aruba Airport Authority is one of our top priorities, but it’s also important to us to raise awareness and give back to organizations like Autism Speaks. It’s truly an honor to be able to do so.”