What do you get when you cross 20 iPad minis, 18 holes and one fundraising goal?
The answer is Rebecca Kuik, a 15-year-old Island Lakes resident who is passionate about raising awareness about autism.
To help further the conversation, Kuik is currently busy organizing a golf fundraiser, which will be held in the summer. The shotgun event — dubbed the Missing Pieces Autism Invitational — will be held at Niakwa Country Club (620 Niakwa Rd.) on Mon., July 7. Registration is set for 2:15 p.m. and the event is set to start at 3 p.m.
Kuik, who attends J. H. Bruns Collegiate, said the goal of the event is to raise enough money to buy 20 (or more) iPad minis for students with autism in Louis Riel School Division.
All told, the cost of 20 such devices, as well as accessories and cases, is around $14,000, Kuik said.
Kuik’s youngest sister, Paige, 10, has autism, and Kuik said her iPad mini has significantly helped Paige cope with daily tasks, whether at home, at school or out and about.
As well as raising funds for the cause, the teen believes it’s equally important to focus on raising awareness about autism in the community.
"I think it’s important to raise awareness, especially in Canada. I wear one of these awareness bands and, on average, someone will come up to me twice a day and ask me about it. At first, people tend to look at me blankly."
This isn’t the first time the teen has stepped up to the plate to help raise awareness about autism.
In April 2013, to mark World Autism Day, Kuik spearheaded a school assembly titled Autism Awareness Light It Up Blue at Island Lakes Community School, her former school, where Paige currently attends.
"I wanted to help people like my sister find their voice," Kuik said, noting she visited classrooms in light of the assembly to field questions from the other kids.
"I really saw a change after the assembly in my peers that I saw every day. There was definitely more awareness. People used to laugh if she had a bad day and they would make fun of her because they didn’t understand what was going on."
Thanks to Kuik — an honour roll student who hopes to one day land a golf scholarship — Paige’s voice continues to become stronger and stronger.
To learn more about autism, visit www.autismsocietycanada.ca. For more details about the golf fundraiser, email email@example.com and your information will be forwarded to Kuik.