Thursday, February 27, 2014

Jaci Velasquez

Autism Light #338 is Jaci Velasquez. 

Jaci Velasquez at the White House
Jaci Velasquez is a Christian and Latin Pop singer from Nashville, Tennessee. Jaci Velasquez became an autism mother in the Spring of 2013, when her 5 year old son Zealand was diagnosed with autism by the Nashville Public Schools, when he started kindergarten. After the ASD diagnosis, Jaci became a spokesperson for autism advocacy and has used her singing talents in fundraising for the autism community. Jaci Velasquez is an Autism Light for how she is an autism advocate in honor of her son Zealand.

Jaci Velasquez was born on October 15, 1979, in Houston, Texas. Jaci is of Mexican, Spanish, French, Scottish, and Arab ancestry (Jaci Velasquez, Wikipedia).

Music Career: Jaci Velasquez has been inspring others through her singing for 20 years and, "she has three Platinum albums, three Gold albums, 16 number one singles, six top 10 singles, and seven Dove Awards (Christian Post, October 17, 2013)." For the latest information on Jaci Velasquez and opportunities to hear her music visit her website at

In this video Jaci Velasquez shares about her son Zealand and how God has spoken to her through being a parent.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks: Jaci Velasquez was named the 2013 spokesperson for the Tennessee Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Her related duties included speaking about her connection to autism and the Autism Speaks organization, performing music at their events in Tennessee, and participating in the ribbon cutting ceremony on October 5, 2013. Jaci Velasquez said about this autism advocacy role, "I am honored and humbled to take on the responsibilities of being the spokesperson of 2013. Although the emotions that I am feeling are unfamiliar and uncharted, I find comfort and unwavering support through my faith, family, and both old and new friends alike (Christian Post, October 17, 2013)."

On My Knees: Here is a clip of Jaci Velasquez as she sings one of her #1 hit songs in a live concert. The song On My Knees was released in 1996 on her debut album Heavenly Place and became the title of her "Best of" Album ten years later in 2006.  Though the song was born over a decade before she became an autism mother, it's message offers hope for Christians in the autism community. When Jaci Velasquez sang this song an Autism Speaks event in 2013, she whispered before singing it, "This year I've actually found a new reason to be on my knees (Power Source Music)."

The Gift of Zealand:  
Jaci Velasquez has said this about her autistic son Zealand, "What Zealand has taught me, and continues to teach me each day is that societal labels don't mean a thing. I see and hear 'genius' when I read and hear 'autistic.' Being diagnosed with autism is to be presented with an original gift. My mission is to harvest the gifts that Zealand has been given, and not overlook them. I don't want to overlook these gifts in an effort to try and 'fix' whatever might seem out of place I WILL NOT overlook Zealand's gift, and I want to encourage everyone else too.. DO NOT MISS THE GIFT! (Power Source Music)."

The following video is of Jaci Velasquez singing a duet in 2013 with Michael W. Smith at a Symphony of Life concert. The featured song is Michael W. Smith's classic, Friends. 

Social Media: You can follow Jaci Velasquez on the following social media areas. 
Special thanks to Jaci Velasquez for being an Autism Light. Jaci's music has touched hearts for decades and her faith is now inspiring others as she walks the road of being an autism mother. We wish Jaci Velasquez the best in her music career and in her role as an autism parent. 
Photo: The photo of Jaci Velasquez is in the Public Domain

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Pentru Voi Foundation

Autism Light #337 is the Pentru Voi Foundation.

The Pentru Voi Foundation is a non governmental organization that was established in 1995 in Timisoara, Romania to support people with intellectual disabilities. The Pentru Voi Foundation is the first Autism Light from the country of Romania. The Pentru Voi Foundation is an Autism Light for their efforts on behalf of those with Autism in Romania.

Mission: The mission of Pentru Voi is "to increase the quality of life for persons with intellectual disabilities and their families (Vimeo Channel of Pentru Voi)."

2012 FlashMob in Iulius Mall: The Pentru Voi Foundation organized a FlashMob for April 2, 2012 for Autism Awareness Day that performed in the Iulius Mall in Timisoara, Romania. The Timisoara Zumba Club collaborated on this FlashMob for Autism Awarness.

2008 Project: "In 2008 Pentru Voi project 'Different Together' received Romanian top award at the civil Society Gala. It is the first time the award goes to an organization from Timisoara, and also the first time when it is won by an organization for people with intellectual disabilities (Pentru Voi Foundation Wikipedia Page)."

Website: You can read more about the Pentru Voi Foundation at their website at

Wikipedia: You can read more about Pentru Voi Foundation at the Pentru Voi Foundation Wikipedia Page.
Social Media: You can follow the Pentru Voi Foundation on the following social media areas.

Special thanks to the Pentru Voi Foundation for their efforts to serve individuals with disabilities in Romania. Those with autism in Romania are blessed to have Pentru Voi Foundation shining their light.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

John and Traci Schneider

Autism Lights #336 are John and Traci Schneider.

John and Traci Schneider are from Seattle, Washington and their 12 year old son Ben has autism. John Schneider works as the General Manager for the Seattle Seahawks and helped develop the team that won Super Bowl XLVIII on February 2, 2014. John and Traci Schneider are Autism Lights because of how their advocacy for autism and their fundraising for Ben's Fund at FEAT of Washington is helping autism families in the Seattle area.

NFL Executive: John Schneider has served as the General Manager of the Seattle Seahawks since 2010. He has established himself as a brilliant NFL administrator. Prior to moving to Seattle, he worked for the Washington Redskins and Green Bay Packers. John Schneider helped construct the Green Bay Packer team that won Super Bowl XLV. Dave Soft Mahler, who is a Sports Radio Show host in Seattle, posted the following tweet in praise of John Schneider in April, 2013.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seattle Seahawks have been very supportive of Ben's Fund. You can watch an autism awareness video of the Schneider's at  The Seahawks have dedicated a portion of their website to help promote the Prime Time Event for Ben's Fund.

Traci Schneider:  Traci Schneider said this about their autism journey, "John and I are of the same mindset where we were heartbroken and devastated for about a day, and then we kind of got to the point where it was like, 'All right, now what do we do?' (, Tony Drovetto, March 22, 2013)."   In addition to being an autism mother, Traci Schneider has volunteered on the board at FEAT and has served as the President of the Seahawks Women's Association.

Ben's Fund: John and Traci Schneider created Ben's Fund in 2012 in order to help families in Washington State receive autism services. The fund provides grants for services in partnership with FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) of Washington. Ben Schneider has received some important help from the services of FEAT of Washington, when his family moved to Seattle in 2010.

John and Traci Schneider establish "Ben's Fund" charity from Doug Farrar on Vimeo.

FEAT of Washington: According to the Prime Time Website, "FEAT of Washington is a non-profit organization that strives to reach families with a child or children on the autism spectrum, providing support, guidance and resources for families in the community. For the past 15 years, FEAT WA has been developing, creating and inspiring autism programming for Washington's children solely to achieve one purpose - to help those children reach their full potential. Visit to learn more."

Entire Family Impacted: John Schneider said this about autism families, "It's not just an issue for these kids. It's an issue for the entire family and it's hard. It affects your neighbors, the siblings, you can be at a restaurant and things can just fall apart. The mothers are just unbelievable and the siblings have to be unbelievable as well (My, Josh Kerns, April 5, 2012)."

John Schneider believes there is hope for autism. John Schneider said, "There's always hope, we have seen that with our son. He has definitely gotten better with everything that we have done over the past seven years. So we are very fortunate (My, Josh Kerns, April 5, 2012)."

Wikipedia: You can read more about John Schneider at the John Schneider Wikipedia Page.

Special thanks to John and Traci Schneider for being Autism Lights. We wish them continued success as autism parents and advocates. The autism community in Washington State is certainly fortunate to have them on their team as our the many Seahawks fans in the area.

Autism Light honors diverse heroes to the world of autism.