San Diego’s iconic Balboa Park is typically lush green but on Saturday, it the landmark will be blue.
In support of World Autism Awareness Day (WAAD), the museums and buildings along El Prado in Balboa Park will glow blue that night – the color that symbolizes support for the millions of families affected by autism, both locally and across the globe.
Building by building, spot by spot, Balboa Park will go blue. At 7 p.m., the iconic Bea Evenson Fountain on the east end of The Prado, between the Natural History Museum and the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, will light up.
As part of WAAD, Balboa Park will join thousands of other landmarks around the world in shining a light on autism, including the Empire State Building, the Sydney Opera House and the International Space Station.
In addition to building local awareness of autism and supporting San Diego families impacted by autism, the lighting of Balboa Park will also shed light on the park’s new autism accessibility programs.
April is Autism Awareness Month. Worldwide, 70 million people are affected by autism. In San Diego, there are more than 10,000 residents with autism. Every 11 minutes, a child is diagnosed with autism, according to the National Foundation for Autism Research (NFAR). One in 68 Americans has autism.
Through WAAD and the month of April, NFAR, Balboa Park, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the Autism Society of San Diego, the Autism Tree Project Foundation and Autism Speaks San Diego will join together to raise awareness for autism as a growing health concern, and educate locals on the various autism programs and resources available in San Diego.
To help support NFAR’s ongoing efforts to fund local autism services – including providing equipment for children with autism to nearly 600 San Diego classrooms – donate to the organization online here.
The observance of WAAD on April 2 was officially adopted by the United Nations in 2007.
Each year since, the “Light It Up Blue” campaign kicks off Autism Awareness Month by shining blue lights in honor of families impacted by autism at thousands of landmarks, skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes across the world. Supporters can also wear blue.