The Six Degree Project To Raise Autism Awareness

This is a post in the weekly Autism Hopes series by Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, a mom who blogs over at AutismWonderland.

National Autism Awareness Month may be in April, but The Six Degree Project is a grass roots student organization passionate about taking autism awareness to the next level. With the collaboration of Carly Fleischmann, Emily Albert and Mia Kibel, the goal of the project is to get people talking about autism outside of autism awareness month.

Working off the basis that we’re connected to everybody in the world by six degrees of separation, the students picked 12 celebrities they feel the people in their communities might be able to reach: Jimmy Fallon, Ellen Degeneres, Justin Bieber, Brad Pitt, Dr. Phil, Ernie Els, Whoopi Goldberg, Kelly Ripa, Travis Stork, Anderson Cooper, the cast of Saturday Night Live, and Ryan Seacrest.The goal is to prompt these 12 celebrities and more to wear a blue scarf in February to show their support for autism and educate people as to why they’re wearing them. Since these celebrities are often the centre of media attention, the students feel it will get people talking about autism and increase overall awareness of the disorder.

The Six Degree Team made this really awesome YouTube video – you can watch it HERE. (It explains the project in more detail.) When I watched it, I got a little emotional because it’s truly inspiring to see a group of teenagers working to make an impact.

I appreciate National Autism Awareness month, I am grateful that we have an entire month dedicated to raising awareness. But for me and for so many other autism parents and autistic individuals, autism awareness is every single day, not just one month out of the year. And in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the autism community needs this. We need positive awareness. We need support. We need your help.

The average person on Facebook has between 120 to 245 friends…and you never know who your friends are Facebook friends with. I mean just a few weeks ago, I discovered that I have a three degree separation from Tom Cruise. And earlier this year, I learned that Amanda Seyfried is the first cousin of my former coworker. And doesn’t everyone have a some degree of separation from Kevin Bacon? By sharing, tweeting or posting about The Six Degree Project YouTube video you never know who it may reach.

But you don’t have to have a known celebrity connection to participate. You don’t even have to know anyone with autism. Autism awareness is a two way street. You just have to be willing to learn, show your support and meet us half way.

I am excited to order my blue scarf and I will wear it proudly.

For more information on The Six Degree Project visit them at http://thesixdegreeproject.com.

Image: Screen grab, The Six Degree Project

 

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  1. by Ellen Seidman

    On January 11, 2013 at 7:45 pm

    Nice writeup, Lisa. This is such a smart project! I am not a scarf person but will get my hands on a blue one! I am zero degrees separated from Debra Messing because she lived in my dorm in college and we were friends!