Several businesses in downtown Redlands are showing love and support in honor of World Autism Awareness Day April 2.
Storefronts throughout the downtown area have adorned their windows with blue hearts as part of Painting Our Town Blue, a celebration in supporting children with special needs and their families.
But the effort to spread awareness is going far beyond the decorations in town, it’s turned into a community event of creating awareness, said Sara Hector, director and owner of Visiting Angels.
“In downtown, we go pink for the Believe Walk, so I figured, why not go blue for Autism,” she said. “I have a son with autism and several other businesses owners in downtown also have children with special needs. This event is to help celebrate their life and the lives of children throughout the Inland-area.”
To help make the event as festive as possible, several local businesses have collaborated with Hector to bring a day full of activities to Ed Hales Park, and some owners are even donating a percent of their April 2 sales to A Brand New Day, a local charity that provides funding to families with children with disabilities as well as counseling services.
“Brand New Day is near and dear to my heart as it is to those of others,” Hector said. “Being able to give back to them as they’ve helped us is just a small gesture of thanks we can offer.”
As part of the celebration, activities are planned throughout the day including visits from Star Wars characters from noon to 2 p.m; toy demonstrations provided by Jax Toys from 2 to 3 p.m. and a Kissui fashion show beginning at 3 p.m.. All activities are taking place at Ed Hales Park.
From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Redlands Fitness Training will be open for adaptive exercise for special needs children and their siblings. Parents and caregivers are welcome to leave their child at the training center while they shop and dine in downtown. The offer is free, Hector said, but registering is necessary and can be made by calling 909-714-6282.
Additional downtown businesses participating and supporting the cause include:
Fluer de Lis, who will be handing out blue lollipops; Wildflowers will be handing out blue balloons; Allied Multisport will be donating a portion of sales from all blue shoes; State Street Winery will be donating 20% of sales for the day; The Living Root Cellar will be donating 10% of sales for the day; Rendition Tattoo will donate 50% of all Autism related tattoos; Smith Jewelers will donate 10% of profits of any blue gemstones; International Day Spa will be donating 20% of all blue products sold the first week of April; The Ultimate Kick Boxing and Fitness Team will donate a portion of adult classes; The FITT Factory will donate 10% of memberships for April and A Shop Called Quest will feature a comic book by Hector’s son, Brady.
A roller skating night at Cal Skate in Grand Terrace will follow from 5 to 7 p.m. with proceeds also benefiting the local charity.
To learn more about the events, call 909-714-6282.