Elena Correia is a local mom with the singing voice of an angel. She trained at Juilliard and is practicing with equally gifted musicians this week on behalf of those who struggle to find their voice.
The motivation is simple and heartfelt. Correia's son, four year old Sebastian, is autistic.
"When he was diagnosed, I don't think I need to tell you how hard it hit myself and my husband," said Correia.
That was two years ago. Sebastian is considered a high functioning autistic child and he is now enrolled at the Renaissance Learning Center in West Palm Beach. It is a charter school that solely focuses on helping children with autism disorders. Correia said her son is already showing marked signs of improvement.
"He went from repeating words and saying one word to (saying) two words. He says Spanish," said Correia.
Now Correia wants to say thank you. Her music group, J.E.T. Pink, is leading a benefit concert for the Renaissance School. All proceeds will go to the school.
"We want to give a voice to all the autistic kids who can't speak for themselves," she said.
Autism disorders are on the rise and every learning center or school can use the financial help as the waiting list grows for parents hoping to find a placement for their child. Correia wants to expand those opportunities.
"Sebastian is a true expression to me of God, a true expression of love and light," she said.
Now she hopes her Saturday concert at the Pinecrest School in Boca Raton will give others a chance to find that hope and light.