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November 15, 2013
YLD brings Halloween spirit to autistic children

By Megan E. Davis
Associate Editor

At its recent meeting in Hollywood, Young Lawyers Division Board of Governors members took time to help autistic children get into the Halloween spirit.

Chrystal Thornton helps a young man with autism from the Seagull Academy for Independent Living in Riviera Beach The board invited six children from the Seagull Academy for Independent Living in Riviera Beach to decorate pumpkins with them.

“I came out here to tell them about our school,” said one of the students. “I’m having fun. I always have fun.”

The idea for the service project came from Lou Delgado, a member of the YLD Board of Governors from West Palm Beach and a SAIL Board of Directors member.

“I’m always looking for something to involve the kids, or some of the adults, and also increase publicity for the organization,” he said, of SAIL.

“We do a lot of really good stuff throughout town for [these kids] and the more people know about it, the better the organization is going to be.”

Board members also donated art and science kits to the school.

Page Tyler, of SAIL, said she appreciated the opportunity for the students to interact with board members.

“They’re all great kids and really excited to be here,” she said. “It makes them feel special. A lot of our kids would never come to a hotel like this otherwise, so it’s a pretty big deal for them to come and do an activity like this.”

Additionally, the outing supported the school’s work with the students in a way that allows them to live as independently as possible following graduation, Tyler said.

“We’re preparing them with true life skills, so they need to be a part of that community that they’re going to be living in, not isolated in their own world,” she said. “This helps show them that it’s not just about me or you. It’s about all of us.”

Board members enjoyed the project as much as the students, Delgado said.

“You can’t help but feel really good when you talk to these kids and see what they can do and how impressive they can be, and at the same time walk away and when you’re at home realize how fortunate and lucky you are,” he said.

[Revised: 12-16-2014]