Yesterday I had the pleasure of working at the 12th Annual Summer Meltdown Autism Awareness and Social Inclusion Live Art and Music Festival. I got to hold my annual position of controlling the VIP/Artist Passes. Or as I like to call it "keeper of the list"
This event is held very near and dear to both mine and my husband's hearts. Growing up with family on the spectrum has made the reality of how so many of these children are treated in society all too close to home. The reality of how many are misunderstood in their own homes is personal for me as well. And then you have Yes I Can and Summer Meltdown, giving these kids a voice that is saying "HELLO WORLD! WE ARE HERE, WE ARE BEAUTIFUL AND LOOK AT WHAT WE CAN ACCOMPLISH" and my goodness what fantastic wonders have they accomplished. My goodness being a part of this program, of Yes I Can and the Summer Meltdown, is the most healing thing I have ever done with my life.
We had such incredible bands come out to support us this year. Our wonderful headliners of course-- Pepper, Nahko, and The Expendables. (I won't even try to deny how excited I was to hear we would be having Pepper, especially when they opened with "Ashes", the song that got me through hundreds of tearful drives on the freeway where I just sang out loud and off key until I would wind up at some beach somewhere.) We also had some amazing familiar faces. My personal favorites to see back this year were Seedless, Papafish, Mystic Roots, and Ease Up.
I hope the world can see how beautiful this event truly is. What it means, what it does. Because it isn't just one day, that is a laugh. If it were "one day" that would be so easy. This is a year of planning, stressing, fundraising, networking. This is a year of children testing their limits, learning how to slowly test the boundaries of their comfort zones. This is a year of Yes I Canners running for Home Coming Court and their peers knowing their names. This is a year of high fives and hellos. This is another year where we can educate a future generation that EVERYONE is beautiful and EVERYONE is valuable. This EVENT is a LIFESTYLE.
I will be proud every day that I have been a part of something so much greater than I will ever be.