Tote Bags Raise Money for Autism Support

SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. -- For World Autism Awareness Day, students in Lycoming County are lending a hand in hopes of raising support for people with the developmental disorder.

At Central Elementary in South Williamsport, the students in Kristin Lambert's autistic support classroom are painting puzzle pieces to recognize the day.

During recess, you can usually find Nathan Coulter on the swings. The third grader has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

"He loves a lot of sensory input, so things outside, deep pressure, lots of swinging," said Nathan's mother Courtney Coulter.

Last year, Courtney decided she wanted to give back and help raise awareness about autism with help from her employer Equinox. The business makes clothing and equipment for the outdoors.

"We decided we wanted to make a tote bag. I approached Nate's teacher Kristin about making this handprint image," said Coulter.

The handprints on a bag belong to Nathan's class.

"They each painted their hands blue, placed their hands on a template, and each one was given the art, and that was when they were given the tote bag to sell," said special education teacher Kristin Lambert.

The totes are $15 each. This month, $5 of that money will go to Hope Enterprises, providing support for people in central Pennsylvania with developmental disabilities including autism.

"That can help support autistic people in things that they want that this area currently doesn't have," said Emily Camerer, community resource coordinator with Hope Enterprises.

"If we can give back to them, it makes me feel great because we have been given so much," Coulter added.

The class helped raise about $300 last year for Hope Enterprises. If you're looking to buy a tote, click here for more information.

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