During Autism Awareness Month in April, several upper school students helped organize and performed in “Light It Up Blue,” a benefit concert held at Santana Row that raised more than $700 for the Pacific Autism Center for Education (PACE).
During the lively afternoon concert, solo artists and bands took to the stage, donating their time and tips to the organization, which provides services to people with autism and their families. Performances by Harker students Gurutam Thockchom, grade 11, Jonathan Yiu, grade 11 and Satchi Thockchom, grade 9, kicked off the event.
Harker senior Allison Kiang serves as the president of PACE’s Youth Leadership Committee (YLC), which was responsible for organizing and running the event. In addition to the live performances, YLC members ran a booth called Operation Enable, which included activities to raise awareness about what it is like to live on the autism spectrum.
Members of the YLC come from various local high schools. Joining together, they spent months planning the fundraiser, from booking the venue to contacting bands and organizing event details.
Founded in 1989, PACE provides programs for individuals with autism and other related developmental disabilities. PACE operates a school for clients (ages 6-22) and offers early-intervention therapy services. The organization also operates group homes for children and adults. PACE’s assistant executive director, Karen Kennan, said she was very impressed by the Harker student’s “commitment to philanthropy and their willingness and eagerness to volunteer and give back to the community.”
Photos for this story were provided by PACE, YLC. More in-depth coverage of the benefit concert can be found in this article published by Harker’s upper school student newspaper, “The Winged Post.”