Bash aids special needs programming

The Back 2 School Bash returns Saturday, Sept. 12, to celebrate and embrace students with a range of abilities at the Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road in Arlington Heights.

The family-friendly event began last year after Northwest Suburban High School District 214 educators Erin DeLuga and Becky Canady joined forces to raise funds for children with Down syndrome.

The two received support from their colleagues when their daughters were born with the genetic disorder.

The 2014 fall bash, held at Wheeling High School, raised thousands of dollars for UPS for DownS and GiGi's Playhouse, organizations that support and advocate for Down syndrome.

This year, proceeds from the event will also benefit the District 214 Education Foundation and the Red Kite Project, a branch of Chicago's Children Theatre that creates theatrical experiences for children with autism.

The bash is free to the public and will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It features a hole-in-one competition with a split-the-pot prize valued at $10,000, a dunk tank, children's magicians, arts and crafts tables, bounce houses, raffles and student entertainment. T-shirts, bracelets and food will be sold.

Guest speakers include Canady, a special-education teacher; 12-year-old GiGi Gianni, the inspiration behind GiGi's Playhouse; Vicki Kirkpatrick, chairwoman of UPS for DownS; and Maureen Kelly and her 11-year-old daughter, Ireland, whose brother has autism.

For more information, contact Erin DeLuga, associate principal at Wheeling High School, at (847) 718-7012 or

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