The Sydney Autism Community Lions Club (SACLC) is a very special kind of Lions Club in the fact that it is run by individuals with autism for individuals with autism. It has taken part in a wide variety of service activities to assist and/or raise awareness about autism in the community. Being the first autism Lions Club in Australia, it has also played an important role in paving the way for other similar clubs such as the Melbourne Autism Lions Club and others.
Over the past few months, the club has been running an Autistic Writing Competition themed “The Autistic Experience” through which individuals with autism from all over Australia submitted short stories that they have written. “Entries were very strong and enjoyable reads”, according to Spectrum Writing, the organisation tasked with judging and pronouncing the winners of the competition, and the stories portrayed “authentic visions of the autistic experience.” As for the SACLC, the goal of the competition was “to provide an opportunity for autistic authors from all over the country to come together to connect and express their unique perspective on what it is like to be autistic,” as explained by Tom Bozic, the president of the club. He also mentioned that due to the success of this inaugural competition, he is looking forward to holding more similar competitions in the future which aim to highlight the skills and talents of individuals with autism in the community.
In the end, the winners of the competition were announced on the club’s Facebook page on the evening of Friday, 25 December 2022, and they were the following:
1st place: Sandra Thom-Jones for her entry entitled “The Birthday Diaries“.
2nd place: Stormy Meiying Liu for “Blind Butterflies”
3rd place: David Halpin for “Donald’s Accident”
The winner of the competition will receive five hours of free mentorship from Spectrum Writing, while the winner and the runner up will receive tailored feedback about their stories in addition to other gifts provided by the various sponsors which include Gleebooks, Elizabeth’s Bookshop, and Constant Reader.
Oz Arab Media, the media sponsor for the competition, wishes the winners all the success in their writing careers and wishes the Sydney Autism Community Lions Club all the best for future competitions and activities.