Turner, C's Host Autism Awareness Day Event

WALTHAM, Mass. – In collaboration with NBA Cares World Autism Awareness Day, the Boston Celtics invited youth from the Sibshop program of the Autism Alliance of MetroWest out to the practice facility Thursday evening.

Joining in the festivities were Celtics guard/forward Evan Turner and former player Leon Powe.

Since its inception in 1993, the Autism Alliance of MetroWest has acted as a support center for families raising autistic children in the Greater Boston Area.

The Sibshop program provides opportunities for brothers and sisters of children with autism to meet other siblings and discuss how to handle situations commonly experienced by siblings with autism.

Thursday night, the youth celebrated their leadership by participating in a number of fun-filled activities.

The youngsters jumped from station-to-station in the gym, challenging Turner and Powe to various arcade and board games. A few brave souls even dared to grab a basketball and challenge Turner to games of one-on-one, while others paused at the photo booth for a quick picture.

Following the activities, the group huddled back together on the bleachers for a brief question and answer session with Turner and Powe.

When asked what characteristics make up a successful team, Turner was quick to point out that if any situation has a negative vibe, it will never result in a positive output.

"I have learned that successful teams are due to the environment around them," said Turner. “A good environment is centered on positive energy and always has great leaders.”

“We all play a part in keeping things positive around us,” he continued. “You all here know that, as you help to be a leader for your brother or sister. A Muhammad Ali quote I try to live by is ‘service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth’. I have that hanging in my house as a constant reminder. After hearing the roles you all play in your families you are doing just that.”

Parents and guardians in the crowd acknowledged Turner’s message with a round of applause.

Powe, who is no stranger to being a part of a successful team, spoke on the meaning of ‘ubuntu,’ an African philosophy adopted by the 2007-08 Celtics World Championship team.

"It means all together. I cannot be the best I can be without helping out others around me," said Powe, as the children nodded in agreement.

One youth spoke up at the end, drawing a connection between the ideals of teamwork with the symbolism behind the autism awareness puzzle piece.

“If one piece is missing, everything falls apart,” said the youngster.

To learn how you can support the Autism Alliance of MetroWest please visit autismalliance.org.

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