A bake sale for autism awareness that was held on April 22 in the Maura Solarium collected $355.30. The “Light It Up Blue” sale was organized by freshman Melanie Dean.
Dual majoring in elementary and special education, Dean wanted to do something for National Autism Awareness Month. She contacted Jennifer Suppo, assistant professor of education, for details and sponsorship.
“We had exactly two weeks to put together what we did,” said Dean. “I am truly astonished by how much we raised in only three short hours.”
“I was genuinely moved by the entire experience,” said Suppo. “Melanie truly embraces the essence of Elizabeth Ann Seton and of our university with her generosity of spirit and dedication to making our world a better place.”
Dean hopes to continue organizing fundraisers and advocating awareness for special needs children as part of her major and her personal goal. “I want to be the voice for the special needs students and children who aren’t able to speak up themselves for the things they need in order to succeed,” said Dean.
The baked goods ranged from cupcakes to brownies to cookies and were sold for 50 cents each. They all were donated by students, faculty, the Giant Eagle Bakery, the Keystone Bakery and Eat’n Park. Blue ribbons were also given out with every purchase.
“Working with Melanie and our large group of volunteers reminds me of why I came to the university to begin with,” said Suppo. “Melanie beings to mind a quote by Margaret Mead, who said, ‘A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.’”
“With all of the tragic events that have happened in the past few months, it was inspiring to see all of the support from the Seton Hill community for a great cause,” said sophomore Chelsea Pence, volunteer for the bake sale.
Proceeds were donated to the ABOARDS Autism Connection of Pennsylvania. The goal of ABOARDS is to raise awareness and funds for those with autism and to offer support for their families. Dean does plan to continue the fundraiser in the following year, as she was pleased with the outcome.