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For Immediate Release

St. Louis Boy with Autism Makes Television Debut in Netflix Children's Series

Media Contact:     Laura Checkett, Vice President of Marketing and Communications
                                               314-813-4207 | laura.checkett@esmw.org

St. Louis Boy with Autism Makes Television Debut in Netflix Children’s Series

Charlie Owens Takes on Disability Stigma in Easterseals’ Episode of Mack & Moxy

ST. LOUIS, October 4, 2016 -- Charlie Owens, an 11-year-old St. Louisan and Easterseals Midwest client with autism, is adding “Netflix actor” to his growing list of accomplishments. Charlie stars in an autism-focused episode of the Netflix series Mack & Moxy, a groundbreaking new children’s show committed to raising the next generation of humanitarians through early introduction to important issues. It is the first time a child non-actor with autism has been featured in an entertainment program of this capacity.

“Disabilities touch us all, and we are very proud to work with the youngest members of our community to change how the world defines and views disability,” said Easterseals Midwest CEO Wendy Sullivan. “Trooper Charlie not only helps kids learn about autism, but also see the value and contribution their peers with developmental disabilities bring to the world every day.”

Charlie was selected through a nationwide search of Easterseals clients. The St. Louis native won Easterseals over with his dreams to be a playwright and director. His character, “Trooper Charlie,” was inspired by Charlie himself, and takes on some behavioral traits and mannerisms often seen in kids with autism.

“The purpose behind Mack & Moxy is to help kids gain compassion and understanding within their community,” said Brahm Wenger, creator of Mack and Moxy. “Charlie challenges society’s preconceived notions of what’s possible for a child with autism—he certainly challenged our own during our time on set. We hope seeing Charlie in this role will prove kids with autism and other disabilities can achieve whatever they want, they just may need some help along the way. And Easterseals is there to do just that.”

Twelve of America's leading nonprofits and government organizations partnered with Mack & Moxy for the show’s inaugural season. Easterseals, the nation’s indispensable resource for families facing disability, worked alongside the show creators to craft a message of inclusion that is accessible to both children and parents alike.

Charlie is not the episode’s only star. Celebrity guests make cameo appearances in each episode to help Mack, a lovable moose-like lummox, and Moxy, a feisty whirlwind of a raccoon/fox-inspired character, on their adventures. Matt Lucas, known for his work in the Alice in Wonderland series, Bridesmaids and a handful of British series, plays the role of the Admiral in Easterseals’ episode. Additional celebrities for Season 1 include Keegan-Michael Key, Josh Duhamel, Kal Penn, Dean Norris, Eva LaRue, Rachael Ray, Melissa Fumero and Hank Azaria.

In time for National Bullying Prevention Month, Mack & Moxy will be available to families everywhere through Netflix’s streaming services. For all things Easterseals and Mack & Moxy visit Easterseals Episode of Mack and Moxy

About Easterseals Midwest |  For more than 50 years, Easterseals Midwest has partnered with families to change the way the world defines and views disability. The nonprofit agency operates a budget of more than $60 million, and makes profound, positive differences in the lives of moisre than 4,000 adults and children through four core program divisions: Autism Services, Community Living Services, Early Childhood Services and Employment Services. Join us as we take on disability together.

About Mack & Moxy | In association with American Public Television and Georgia Public Broadcasting, Award-winning Mack & Moxy was created to teach children life-long lessons of charity and compassion, while celebrating the joy of helping others. In season one Mack & Moxy joined hands with America’s leading non-profit organizations to introduce children to important causes like Hunger Awareness, Early Childhood Education, Wildlife Preservation, Emergency Preparedness, Autism inclusion, STEM Education, the Power of Play, National Parks and the Great Outdoors, Seat Belt Safety, Physical Fitness, Eating Healthy and more. Combining state-of-the-art 3D animation, live-action puppets, fun adventures, humor and catchy music, each Mack & Moxy episode is inspired by the kindness of the great humanitarians among us who make this world a better place.

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