On the early afternoon of April 26, approximately 1,400 Upper Moreland and school students stepped out of their respective schools and into the brisk spring air.
As the teachers expertly lined all the students in rows by class, it was apparent that the students could hardly contain their excitement of what was to come next: An opportunity to help break the Guinness Book of World Records’ most people simultaneously blowing bubbles within one-minute.
And, much like the hundreds and hundreds of bubbles the Upper Moreland students, their teachers and school staff would soon unleash far into the sky, the event was also an opportunity for them to help spread awareness for autism.
“I think it does connect kids to have an awareness of autism,” Dr. Joe Waters, Intermediate School principal, said. “And, also to empower them to do something charitable for other kids.”
According to Waters, this is the second year Upper Moreland students are participating in the “Bubbles 4 Autism” event.
As members of the Wildwood Elks Lodge, Water said that he, Intermediate School fifth-grade teacher Sue Coram and management assistant John Burke, helped bring the event to the school. In turn, their Elks Lodge is a participant of the international Bubbles 4 Autism event, as organized by the Faces 4 Autism organization.
According to Faces 4 Autism literature, the overall Bubbles 4 Autism is in its ninth year, this year:
Bubbles are symbols of joy, hope and laughter. They bring people together. When we blow Bubbles for Autism together, we create a new awareness of families facing autism.
With this year’s Bubbles 4 Autism event, the Faces 4 Autism organization reports that approximately 37,000 students and adult-supporters from across the country and as far away as Israel, South Africa and Australia, came together to simultaneously blow bubbles.
“I love this event, it just takes a few minutes of our day,” Waters said.
However, he added, the one-minute event took at least a month of preparation.
A K-Kids Fundraising Effort
According to Waters, the K-Kids spearheaded the effort of organizing Bubbles 4 Autism at both schools.
“Our K-Kids group here at the Intermediate School is a group that sponsors such charitable activities,” he said. “They helped us implement and develop a sense of enthusiasm for the event.”
The K-Kids is a junior branch of the , a charitable community organization that focuses its efforts on supporting youth.
According to Sue Coram, the K-Kids did much of the fundraising and promotion for the Bubbles 4 Autism event.
Last year, Coram said that Upper Moreland raised over $5,000 between the Primary and Intermediate schools. While not mandatory to participate, students were encouraged to give a $1 or more donation for the event.
According to Coram, the majority of the of the funds would go toward autism research, while a portion was used to purchase the bubble equipment, as well as provide participants with a Faces 4 Autism ribbon, which is designed with blue, red and yellow interlocking puzzle-pieces.
The material for the ribbons came in large spools, out of which the K-Kids had to cut and make into the ribbons. The K-Kids placed the ribbons and bubble equipment into bags, which were distributed to Primary and Intermediate school classrooms for each of the participating students.
“They’ve been working on this for close to a month or more,” Coram said.
“It was really hard, but it was really fun, because I got to do it with all my friends,” Intermediate School fifth-grade student Kayla Mruk said. “Yeah, it took a really long time, but I’m so glad that we got it done on time.”
Kayla, who is the K-Kids president, said she felt blessed for being able to help students her age that have autism.
“I think it was really fun that kids got to go outside for a really great cause,” Kayla said.
According to the Faces 4 Autism’s website, one in 110 children are affected with autism in the United States – a majority of whom are boys. This statistic does not include certain disorders within the autism spectrum.