STUDIO CITY (CBSLA.com) — Stephanie’s Day, a unique resource fair for families with children impacted by autism and other special needs, was hosted by CBS2/KCAL9 for a fifth consecutive year.
The event on Saturday drew families to the CBS Radford lot in Studio City, along with more than 50 organizations that provided kids with fun and festivities, and parents with imperative information and resources.
For families in attendance, the day was full of singing, smiles, and hugs and many said it’s one of the happiest days of the year.
“It’s just wonderful to have something that’s focused on our special children,” said one attendee, while another said, “We come every year.”
The day is named after Stephanie Mauldin, the daughter of Sheilah and Steve Mauldin, President and General Manager of CBS2 and KCAL9.
Stephanie was diagnosed at an early age with autism and the challenge of finding resources and programs inspired Mauldin to create the resource fair.
“When you look around and you see these families and you see so many smiling faces and you hear people say ‘This is my third year,’ ‘This is my fourth year.’
“Then I ask them, ‘Why do you come?’ I know the answer. But I love to hear them say, ‘It’s because it’s so beneficial and we feel so welcomed here,’ ” Mauldin said.
“More and more people just keep showing up, which is just amazing to us,” said Sheilah Mauldin, Stephanie’s mother. “It warms our heart.”
As CBS2’s Health Reporter Lisa Sigell reports, Stephanie has embraced her role as ambassador and greeted everyone with a hug, love and a smile.
“Two of us have something in common: we both have autism,” said one boy.
Others in attendance included a group, who saw the event on the news years ago. Now, they say, they make it a family affair with some traveling from Long Beach, while others as far as Mississippi.
“We come every year to Stephanie’s Day to support my daughter, Chelsea,” said one mother.
Stephanie’s Day will return next year. For a list of organizations that were in attendance, click here.