Funded schools are a common thing in the United States, but one organization in Utah is trying to raise money to provide preschool privileges to autistic children.
Friends of GIANT Steps Autism Preschool is throwing a benefit concert featuring Billboard Music Award-winning band and platinum recording artist Neon Trees and The Lower Lights on Saturday, April 7, at 5 p.m. at Mountain View High School. Tickets for the event are $20 and all proceeds will benefit the preschool.
Friends of GIANT Steps is a nonprofit organization that works closely with and supports GIANT Steps Autism Preschool. The GIANT Steps Program is open for children ages three to five who are diagnosed with autism and has a program located in Utah County.
Branden Campbell, bass player for Neon Trees, said it is great being back in Utah.
“We love it,” Campbell said. “We take our crew and our managers and make them go to Cafe Rio. It doesn’t get better than this.”
Campbell, whose son is a student at GIANT Steps Autism Preschool, said he has known for a while he wanted to help the school.
“My son is 4-years-old and has been a student at the school for two years,” Campbell said. “The school is partially funded by the government but especially in this economy, it is hard to make up the difference. I knew I wanted to help the school for a while and now is the time.”
The preschool program was not always offered in the Utah County area. In a news release for the benefit concert it explains how parents were able to create another program.
“A few concerned and diligent parents who were driving their children to Salt Lake City on a daily basis procured funding through the legislature to have a program in Utah County,” the news release said. “There is no cost for this program.”
Molly Meagan Mitchell, a psychology major from Laurinburg, N.C., said she would be likely to attend the concert because of the headliner, Neon Trees, and the great price, but she is unsure about benefit concerts.
“I like Neon Trees because of their sound,” Mitchell said. “Their music is unique and upbeat.The concert is a great price considering how much most concerts are. Charity concerts are hit or miss because you never know how long they are going to be.”
Mitchell said supporting autistic children is a great cause for the concert and it will hit close to home for many.
“Autism is a growing problem in our nation,” Mitchell said. “Those kids need the uplifting and positive influence that can be acquired through special programs.”
Katie Tehrani, a junior from Valentine, Neb., studying English education, said she thinks raising autism awareness is great.
“I have a lot of cousins that are affected by autism so I think it is an amazing cause,” Tehrani said.
Tehrani said she thinks the benefit concert will be successful.
“Neon Trees is a popular group and their fan base is local as well as national,” Tehrani said. “My prediction is the concert will sell out because of the price and the band.”