Laila Ali Knocks It Out At The Pink Pump Affair Benefitting Children With Autism And Special Needs

 

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Photo: Areva Martin (left) and Laila Ali (right)

Photo Credit: Anthony Turk

 

The Pink Pump Affair was an afternoon of beautiful women coming together to fight for the nation’s children. The Special Needs Network (SNN) is an organization determined to raise awareness of developmental disabilities including Autism. The SNN not only aims to impact public policy on this issue, but also to provide education and resources to families, children, and adults. Laila Ali, SNN Women Of Distinction, told LAEntNews

 

“When you do have a child with special needs, and you’re a working parent, you need all the support you can get. Especially kids in families that live in underserved communities, where they don’t have that much focus. So you have to be thankful for organizations such as the Special Needs Network that fights for them. It (The SNN) Fights for those who don’t have the means necessarily or the information they need to fight for themselves. Every life counts. Every child’s upbringing counts.”

 

Areva Martin is the President and Founder of the Special Needs Network.

 

“This is our 8th Annual Pink Pump Affair. Eight years of bringing amazing women together to celebrate kids with autism. To say to kids, particularly those in vulnerable communities, that they matter. To say that when we embrace them, these children have unlimited potential,” (Areva Martin).

 

The Pink Pump Affair benefits the Joe Patton Academy Camp (Camp JPAC).  Camp JPAC is the only free inclusion camp in South Los Angeles for children with Autism and their siblings. Pat Harvey, CBS Anchor and Host for the evening, spoke of the importance of this inclusion camp.

“What better way to insert them into a community. Going to camp together with not only like-minded individuals, but also individuals that can learn by just being around them. They can learn that this (inclusion) is great. They (children with special needs) can still be my friend. I can still talk to them in the same way as I talk to anybody else. They are people just like me. So I think that’s terrific. I think that’s one of the best ideas to come along.”

 

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Photo: Pat Harvey (left) and Areva Martin (right)

Photo Credit: Anthony Turk

 

Martin told LAEntNews the impact that Camp JPAC has in the community.

 

“It’s important because we do not want our kids to be isolated. We want our children to be fully integrated into every aspect of their community. We want our kids with autism to be a part of something bigger. We don’t ever want them to feel less than; we want our children to have access to everything that other kids have.”

 

The SNN also offers free classes to caregivers of special needs children. Shari Belafonte encouraged parents to reach out for this kind of support.

 

“It’s important to know that there is help out there. You just need to be able as a parent or as a sibling, to reach out and ask for it. Many times people are afraid to think that their child is a little different and needs a little something extra special. They want just to glaze it over,  but the sooner that you accept that the child needs a little extra care, the sooner everything is going to work out better for you and better for the siblings.”

 

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Photo: Shari Belafonte (left) and Areva Martin (right)

Photo Credit: Anthony Turk

 

The women of the Pink Pump Affair were present to support the cause and each other.  Gabriela Teisslier, Univision News Anchor, shared her personal inspiration for supporting the SNN.

 

”I have a son on the spectrum, and that’s how I came into contact with this community. I find that it does a fantastic job bringing us all together. They try to separate us. And say you’re a Latino, you’re a minority, you’re African American. No, we are all in a family. We are all in a network. That is what the SNN does. It brings us all together, and we together, have a very strong voice.”

 

The SNN brought these women together to inspire and be inspired. Anna Maria Horsford told LAEntNews why she attended the Pink Pump Affair.

 

“I came here to excite myself about all the other work that I have to do when I’m not on stage.  That’s what we all have to do. We came here to collect our assignments in life.”

 

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Photo: Ana Maria Horsford

Photo Credit: Anthony Turk 

The SNN is attracting new supporters who are ready to take on this fight. ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ actress, Kelsey Scott, told LAEntNews how happy she is to be a new member of the SNN.

 

“We are going to be supporting organizations that help children. This (2016) is my first year. I am excited to be introduced to everything they have to offer and to promote it. My mother was an educator. So it’s always been important to me to try to reach out in general, but specifically in educating the public. So I just get that from her (mom) and anytime I see something that is along that vein it draws me to it.”

 

The Annual Pink Pump Affair brings attention to a worthy cause. Autism has become very prevalent, but we still do not know much about it. Pat Harvey told LAEntNews

 

“Just to be stepping out there and bringing this to the forefront is important. People have to do more. Autism is one and ten now. That’s an utterly ridiculous number, and we still don’t know why this happens. But, you know what? We don’t give up.”

 

The Pink Pump Affair benefits children with special needs, their parents, and their siblings. SNN is a force for kindness and inclusion. This celebration brightened the world for thousands of children and their families.

 

Author: Shannon O'Connor

Shannon is a native New Yorker with a flare for Los Angeles. Shannon was introduced to the entertainment world through acting. Performing since she was three years old, Shannon is no stranger to the spotlight. After receiving her Master's Degree in Television Radio and Film from Syracuse's S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications Shannon is thrilled to have the opportunity to share her gifts on the west coast.

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