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Wear blue, donate, and make a difference

Tuesday 9 April 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Local, National

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Wear blue, donate, and make a difference
Raising awareness and celebrating Blue Day in 2023. From left: Pauline Jones - volunteer/parent, Kyle Matheson – parent, and Kat Jensen – Autism Cook Islands programme manager. ACI/24040527

People are encouraged to wear blue this Friday, April 12th, for Blue Day and donate to Autism Cook Islands (ACI) initiatives that support families.

They can also decorate their office, staffroom, or classroom in blue and be entered to win a special prize for the best Blue Day photo – an amazing morning tea spread.

Since the establishment of Autism Cook Islands six years ago, the organisation has continued to be active running effective awareness programmes.

Last year, ACI visited both Aitutaki and Atiu to deliver awareness courses, communication core board sessions, play therapy Lego sessions and to engage with teachers, teacher aides, students and families.

Gloria Rarere-Tinirau, president of ACI, said: “Nine new families have joined the ACI programme and as we promote more awareness and acceptance this number is growing.”

At present, 24 families currently attend the popular Lego Masters programme for preschool, primary and high schoolers.

In Term 1 this year, ACI launched its new Vex Robotics programme to further challenge their students in programming and coding.

ACI continues their social development programme through swimming/snorkelling, badminton, and Rippa rugby partnering with sports organisations Cook Islands Aquatics Federation, Badminton Cook Islands and Cook Islands Rugby Union.

Speech therapist Jenna Ryan (Volunteer Service Abroad/Ministry of Education) has held sessions on communication core boards with the parents of Autism Cook Islands.

Specialised resources were also provided for children to address specific areas, including launching a one-on-one reading programme.

Rarere-Tinirau said: “We have received some great feedback from families of the positive changes in their children so far and we are excited to be able to continue this work in 2024, and reach more children.”

“Meitaki ma’ata to our community that support us year after year with your donations, fundraising, awareness and gifting of resources that makes all of this possible.

“We couldn’t have done it without you.”

Autism Cook Islands would love for your organisation, work place or school to partner with them for their sixth annual Blue Day this year.

If you are keen to be a part of Blue Day, an information pack will be sent to you. Email Kat Jensen at kat@autismcookislands.org to register your interest.

“We appreciate your continued support of Autism Cook Islands and our initiatives to bring out the best in all those with autism living in the Cook Islands,” said Rarere-Tinirau.

Blue Day t-shirts are also available for purchase: Adult sizes (S, M, L, XL, 2XL, and 3XL) are selling for $30 each, or $25 each for three or more. Kids’ sizes (4, 6, 8, 10, 12) are $20 each. For orders email kat@autismcookislands.org or call 73141.