Kids Spotlight - 2015

Attention kids of all ages!  You are some of our most important ambassadors. As we celebrate Autism Awareness Month think of fun and creative ways to teach your friends, family and classmates about autism. Last year, our Junior Ambassadors did everything from planning bake sales to giving presentations about autism in their classrooms.  We cant wait to hear what our 2015 Junior Ambassadors have this year. 

Send your photos and activities to: and you just might see yourself in our 2016 kit!

Are you a brother or sister?

Participate in our 2015 Sibling Essay Contest. Essays will be published on Autism New Jersey’s website and winners will be invited to read their essay at an Autism New Jersey event. Offer to read you essay to your class to help explain what it’s like to be in a family with a brother or sister with autism. For contest rules and more information, visit

Check out our kid-friendly tools to help you spread autism awareness!

Kimberly Sibilia
Point Pleasant, NJ

Junior Autism Ambassador and cousin to Genare Valiant who has autism, spread autism awareness at her local Earth Day Fair in Point Pleasant, NJ. Kimberly and her friends set up a display table and raised funds for autism awareness. Amount raised: $607.75 Thank you Kimberly!


Katelyn Hagel
Ridgewood, NJ

Katelyn Hagel, a 4th Grader at Travell Elementary School in Ridgewood, New Jersey, held events for Autism Awareness Month at her school. Here are some of the events and activities she held:

• Katelyn decorated a Bulletin Board at the school for Autism Awareness month, having all the students and staff sign a puzzle piece to show their support of those living with autism and their families.
• She read "Autism Facts of the Week" every Friday during morning announcements to make her school more aware and accepting of autism.
• She donated books to her school library and helped put up a display for Autism Awareness month.
• She donated blue bracelets for the whole school to show their support, and held a coin collection fundraiser, with donations totaling $664.15 for Autism New Jersey.
• Katelyn made clay autism ribbons and puzzle piece necklaces for her brother's school, The Children's Institute, and donated all the sales totaling $150 to his school.

Katelyn is very proud of her brother, Lucas, and wants to spread awareness to others so they can get to know him and others with autism, because Katelyn knows how amazing people with autism are!

Stephen Goodyear
Flanders, NJ

Stephen read to the 1st grade class at Tinc Road Elementary School about autism. He is pictured here with his former 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Miller. Amount raised: $830.00 Way to go Stephen!

Lydia Brown
Cumberland County, NJ

4 local Junior Autism Ambassador Queens took over Cumberland County Mall's community booth for Autism Awareness Day and passed out bubbles, tattoos, stickers and coloring pages to the children and information packets to all the adults. They had a blast sharing their personal stories – three of them are on the spectrum -- and spreading awareness!

From left to right:  Shellby Watts (USA National Miss NJ Jr Teen), Lily Unverzagt (Miss Amazing NJ Preteen), Rylee Howerton (Miss Amazing Rising Star) and Naomi Unverzagt (Miss Next Level Youth Preteen). “Miss Amazing” is a national pageant for girls with special needs. This year all four Amazing Queens from NJ are on the spectrum! They are a fabulous group of young ladies and will be traveling to LA in July to represent our state at the Nationals! 

Livingston Pack 16
Livingston, NJ

Eight year old, Michael Ileya, is a Jr. Autism awareness ambassador. Michael, along with four fellow cub scouts, are working towards earning their learning disabilities belt loop. All five boys are second graders from Livingston, NJ. They are members of Livingston Pack 16. After learning about autism, having a Q&A, and reading some books, they developed an Autism Awareness Tri-fold which is displayed in a school. We are really proud of their message, "Treat Everyone the Same." 


Peter Fifoot
Jefferson Township, NJ

Peter is a Junior Autism Awareness Ambassador who also happens to be on the autism spectrum.  Peter has planned various activities throughout April to spread autism awareness.  Those activities include: Accepting a proclamation in Chatham Boro from the mayor and speaking about how autism affects his daily life.  He also will be speaking and accepting proclamations in Dover, Rockaway Boro, Gillette and East Hanover.  Way to go Peter!


Kim Kittel shared this adorable pic of her dog, Shadow, sporting an autism awareness bandana in honor of Kim’s son, Zachary.

"April is Autism Awareness Month… I wear this bandana in honor of my little boy Zachary who I love with all my heart"
Love, Shadow

Kayla Baylor
Camden County, NJ

Kayla Baylor (NJ Miss Amazing Jr Teen) led an Autism Awareness meeting for the Camden County Youth Partnership. She held an open discussion of Autism and stereotypes, played Autism jeopardy, handed out some of her NJ Autism Ambassador supplies, blew bubbles in honor of those with Autism, and then enjoyed a delicious blue cake. Kayla also volunteered at the Autism Awareness event at the Philadelphia Zoo along with some members of the Camden County Youth Partnership. Nice work this year!

Julie Welsh
Maple Shade, NJ

Julie held her 
8th Annual "Awesome Autism Awareness Yard/Bake Sale" to benefit Autism New Jersey. This is her 8th year and she worked to make it the biggest year yet. We are proud of all of the time and effort that Julie puts forth every year to make her event a success and for spreading autism awareness. Amount raised: $1,137.00 Nice work Julie! Learn more>>

Julie Ward Howerton

Cumberland County, NJ

Miss New Jersey Jr Teen, Shellby Watts was honored to be involved in Archway Programs "Hands Around The Lake" autism awareness event. As an Autism Ambassador for Autism New Jersey, she provided coloring books, book marks, tattoos and stickers for the children of Archway, and autism fact cards for those attending the event. Thanks to Miss Susan Lafferty and all of the staff, it was an amazing event!

Mallory Banks

Fanwood, NJ

Mallory raised a total of $310.00 this year, just by collecting autism awareness donations. Thank you Mallory!

Suyash Handa

Mercer County, NJ

Suyash is a junior at West Windsor Plainsboro High School South, and is planning to study engineering in college. An avid member of the community, Suyash loves to volunteer at golf events and volunteers weekly at the Plainboro Preserve. To help spread awareness and raise money for Autism New Jersey, Suyash organized a fundraiser night at Houlihan's in Lawrenceville, NJ on April 28th. Nice work Suyash!


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