The Unsung Hero program recognizes ZIN™ Members around the world for their outstanding contributions to their communities, and for their ability to inspire others. This month, we celebrate ZIN™ Member, Debi Bevins, in Maryland, United States, for her tireless and heartfelt efforts to raise awareness and offer support to the Autism Community.
As ZIN™ Member and Director of Client Relations for the Secretary of Veterans Affairs in Washington, DC, Debi Bevins, describes it, “It began almost five years ago; what I thought would be an ordinary Monday evening ZUMBA® class turned out to be a life changing experience. In my first class at a new location, I met a special young man and his mother. He was dancing, stomping, and simply letting the music move him, unaware of his surroundings or of those watching him. After class, I learned that he was autistic, and his communication consisted of one-word sentences. As time passed, I realized how he was becoming much more focused and controlled. He seemed to be using ZUMBA® as his method of communication and expression.” It was this experience that inspired Debi to do more.
For the past three years, ZIN™ Member, Debi Bevins, has brought a team of fellow instructors and community members together to advocate for and celebrate autism awareness through their Unmasking Autism Zumba® Charity Events. She created the “Camp BLING for BLUE Scholarship,” and every dollar that is raised by her team has immediate and local impact. With the help of the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), all event proceeds are donated directly to Autistic children so that they have an opportunity to go to local summer camps. April is Autism Awareness Month, and the event this year had over 350 participants, included 30 ZIN Members, 6 Zumba Jammers and ZES, April “Smiles” Smith. Together, they were able to raise over $7,500 and through their combined efforts, Debi’s team has been able to send 31 autistic kids to summer camps!
Debi, we thank you for sharing your time, talents and passion to enrich the lives of families facing the challenges associated with Autism. Your love and care is moving the world.
To learn more about Debi’s incredible story, please check out her Wonderful World story.
To learn more about Autism, click here.
Join in the conversation with our ZIN/Autism Community by clicking here.