The Boston truckers' union Teamsters Local 25 has long supported autism education, awareness, and research as its primary charitable mission. In July, the group found a new way to promote awareness that doesn't involve the usual TV or radio spots. Instead, the Teamsters brought an 18-wheeler to the campus of a local school for autistic youth and invited the kids to climb in the cab, pretend to drive, honk the horn, and tour the trailer, according to published reports.
Although most of the students at the Boston Higashi School in Randolph, Mass., are nonverbal, the day brought smiles to more than 100 children aged three to 20 who got to participate. "It was a big thrill for them," Michael Kelly, the school's executive director, told The Boston Globe. "All kids love to see big trucks."
In a recent radio interview, union leaders said the group's support of autism was inspired by members' personal experiences with the condition among their family members and friends. The union has raised about $5 million for autism research, education, and awareness in the past 10 years, they said.