BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Mary Kay McMillin students participated in a school-wide event on Thursday, March 30 for autism awareness. Even Timber, the Mary Kay McMillin therapy dog, was in the action. The pre-school, kindergarten and first grade classes filed out to the playground on a picture perfect spring day to release bubbles into the blue sky signifying awareness and acceptance.  .

"The bubbles represents how children with autism sometimes feel trapped inside a
bubble, unable to fully express themselves and relate to their friends," said Megan Mansfield, a special education teacher who organized the event along with colleague Jenny Byram. "When the bubbles burst it signifies acceptance and awareness. Each bubble blown represents a wish of hope for a cure."

Inside the school, the students decorated paper bubbles and taped them on the windows overlooking the school's butterfly garden. 

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When students were asked about the significance of the bubbles, the students shared the important message that "kids with autism feel like they are trapped in the bubble," said a first grade student. And by blowing the bubbles "helps to get them out of the bubble." 

Music teacher Kenny Sack lead the children in a song of equality written by Sack about color, size and diversity.

At the count of three, the children dipped their wands and blew bubbles for the cause.

The Mary Kay McMillin teachers and staff raised donations for AutismNJ and wore blue to #Lightitupblue for autism awareness. Autism New Jersey is the largest statewide network of parents and professionals dedicated to improving lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders, according to AutismNJ website.  

Autism New Jersey is a nonprofit agency committed to ensuring safe and fulfilling lives for individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals who support them. Through awareness, credible information, education, and public policy initiatives, Autism New Jersey leads the way to lifelong individualized services provided with skill and compassion. They recognize the autism community's many contributions to society and work to enhance their resilience, abilities and quality of life.