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Sandy couple and eBay take children to the stars for Autism Awareness Month

Jun 05, 2018 01:12PM ● Published by Keyra Kristoffersen

eBay flew the Goldberg family to Virginia to meet the Casper family so they could create a star ceiling for Mareto Casper to help him sleep at night. (Ebay)

By Keyra Kristoffersen | keyrak@mycityjournals.com 

Alber and Theresa Goldberg partnered with eBay’s charity organization to help bring wonder and comfort to children for Autism Awareness Month this April. 

“The Goldbergs are just an amazing story giving back to children with disabilities, especially needs that can only be addressed by their unique talent,” said Chris Librie, head of Global Impact and Giving at eBay. 

eBay got in touch with Autism Speaks to promote their Everyday Heroes campaign and found the Goldbergs through their online seller profile GloMania USA. They were creating glow-in-the-dark paint mixes and selling them online, which not many people were doing at the time. Selling the paint helps fund their true passion, which is painting ceiling murals. 

The Goldbergs are originally from Blackpool, England, but moved to Sandy eight years ago to help start StarMaker FX, an expansion of the work they had been doing for friends and charities in the UK. A severe head injury caused Theresa to become even more focused on what she felt was her calling.

“When I came around, I was very ‘this is what we have to do, we have to go and paint star ceilings for children all over the world,’” said Theresa, who has a background in special needs care. “This is my vocation, this is what I’m doing.” 

 Librie’s team contacted the Goldbergs and Autism Speaks to find a family that would benefit from their talents and sponsor a project to help the Casper family in Virginia. Mareto Casper, a 7-year-old boy whose parents adopted him from Ethiopia at five months old, has autism. This has especially impacted his sleeping, so the Goldbergs went to work while the children were at school and created a night-time mural throughout his room. The couple even did some rainbows and a moon for Mareto’s younger sister while they were there as a surprise. Mareto was delighted by the cosmic mural on his wall that included constellations and star alignments from the day he was born. But not more so than his mother, Lauren Casper, who was awestruck when he slept for 11 hours straight for the first time.

“We put little trees in, we made it very personal. That’s what we do. We make every ceiling personal to that child,” said Theresa. 

Theresa and Alber are convinced that this project helps the children because it creates a focus for them. 

“At night, when you’re lying in bed and you’re worried or you’re upse,t what do you see? Nothing. Black ceiling, there’s nothing there,” said Theresa. “We go in and put our stars scenes on the ceiling — it changes things. It’s just magical.”

Alber said it can be a tough project to promote because people online don’t always understand what it’s about, so most of the work they do comes from word of mouth. Either from those who have benefitted or once it’s been explained and the Goldbergs ask if the person knows someone whose family could benefit. 

“It’s about families and giving back,” said Alber, who hopes to begin expanding the StarMakerFX and train more people to go out and create for others.

The couple is working to get local businesses to sponsor ceilings for families who could use that help. That made the partnership with eBay’s Everyday Heroes so helpful in getting the word out by creating a video of the project with the Casper family that could be shared across social media. For every share, eBay donated $1 to Autism Speaks (up to $10,000).

“The objective here increase awareness of autism in general but in Autism Speaks in particular and drive donations through the dollar per share that will run throughout April,” said Librie. “So far, eBay has raised over $800 million for various charities and we really wanted to put that power behind Autism Awareness Month.” 

“We started looking at how to make it work, how to get the revenue to do this, and we’ve never looked back since,” said Alber. “This is my wife’s dream and I’m coming along for the ride.” 

For information on getting involved with StarMakerFX, visit https://starmakerfx.com/

To see the video of the Goldberg and Casper Families and to find out more about Everyday Heroes, visit https://www.ebayinc.com/global-impact/everyday-heroes/.

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