One man and one group of kids hope to make a huge impact for a good cause across the country. They’re going about it differently though, using magnetic autism awareness ribbons and a semi truck.
Raymond Triplett is a trucker. If you look at the cab of his truck, you’ll see it’s unique. It has a bunch of autism awareness ribbons on it with the names of the kids at the McBee Learning Center for Autistic and Learning Challenged Children.
This started about six months ago when Ray found out that his niece, Liberty, has autism.
“I didn't know anything about autism,” he says. “I'm learning more and more about it everyday.”
He knew he wanted to do something to encourage others to learn too, so his niece gave him a ribbon to put on his truck.
“The first ribbon went with me for the past six months,” he says. “It's seen a lot of states.”
Then he got a letter from the other students at McBee. They saw the ribbon he had on his truck and told him in the letter, “We have an idea that we would like for you to take part in.”
Ray joined in.
“I think doing this would actually show the people there's more autism kids out there that maybe we can reach out for the kids and understand them better because the kids are our future,” he says.
Each child wrote their name on a magnet and slapped it onto his truck. Each of the ribbons will be passed along to another trucker Ray meets on the road and each place the ribbons go will get marked on a map at the school.
“We can get awareness out there now,” says Jennifer Triplett, Liberty’s mom. “Awareness equals acceptance and to these kids acceptance is what it's about.”
So even though it started out as a small idea, it’s become so much more than that.
“Seeing their smiles on their face and everything. To me it's all worth it - I wouldn't change a thing,” Ray says.
McBee Learning Center is an all-volunteer school for children with autism. To learn more, visit their Facebook page.
(story and photo: Katie Chen, KHQ.com)