YouTube video sparks Autism fundraiser

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Fundraiser attendees enjoying a beautiful spring day at P.S. 232 Park in Lindenwood on Saturday, April 14 while raising money and awareness for Autism.Photo courtesy of Sandra Constantino
Fundraiser attendees enjoying a beautiful spring day at P.S. 232 Park in Lindenwood on Saturday, April 14 while raising money and awareness for Autism.

Several Lindenwood residents are raising money for Autism awareness, sparked by one young girl’s YouTube video.

Sixteen-year-old Shyanna Constantino created an online video about her younger sister, five-year-old Kaylene Vazquez, who suffers from Autism. A friend’s mother saw the video, called “Happy Hope for Autistic Children,” on YouTube, and thought it would be a great way to raise money for the cause.

Shyanna, along with her mother Sandra Constantino, friend Lisa Tazeras and her mother Drena Muniz, who originally spotted the online video, sold chips, cupcakes and toys to attendees at P.S. 232 Park in Lindenwood on Saturday, April 14. Several families with Autistic children came to the event, happy to see the great work being done by the local philanthropists. Cookie Monster and the blue Care Bear came to the event as well, making children smile while posing for pictures.

Over 70 children also participated in a basketball tournament to raise money for Autism awareness, held at the same time. Organized by Constantino’s son, kids donated $5 each to participate in the afternoon’s athletic competition.

According to Constantino, 100 percent of the proceeds are going to help build New York Families for Autistic Children’s (NYFAC) new recreation center in Howard Beach. They were able to raise $1,200 during the fund raising event that took them less than a week to put together.

NYFAC is a non-profit organization that provides various services for children with Autism and other developmental disabilities throughout Brooklyn and Queens. Headquartered in Ozone Park, NYFAC’s most recent undertaking is the construction of a center in Howard Beach.