'Stranger Things' Actor Helps Kids With Special Needs - NBC Bay Area

'Stranger Things' Actor Helps Kids With Special Needs

Chester Rushing says it's important to "stand up for people who may not have a shoulder to lean upon"

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    'Stranger Things' Star, Family Help Special Needs Kids

    In the hit Netflix series "Stranger Things," Roanoke native Chester Rushing plays a jerk. In real life, he is helping start sensory theater screenings for special needs children and their families. (Published Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016)

    In the hit Netflix series "Stranger Things," North Texas' Chester Rushing plays Tommy H., a high school student who's nothing but a grade-A jerk.

    "I just read a Buzzfeed article about 'Stranger Things' and it said Tommy H. and (the character's girlfriend) Carol are the worst bullies in TV history," the Roanoke native laughed. "It's good to make people feel something and remember."

    In real life, he's the complete opposite: eager to strike up a conversation with fans of the show, whose reaction he calls "very humbling," and raise awareness for a cause near and dear to his heart.

    "I really do think it's important, now that we have a platform, to get in front of a bunch of people and speak out about certain things," Rushing said. "Or stand up for people who may not have a shoulder to lean upon."

    Check Out What Could Become Chance the Rapper's $4M Condo

    [NATL] Check Out What Could Be Chance the Rapper's $4 Million Condo

    Grammy award-winning hip hop artist Chance the Rapper is in the process of purchasing a $4 million condo in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood. The 4,500-square-foot property features floor-to-ceiling windows, two bedrooms, a soundproofed library, along with a spa and a private gym. The purchase comes after Chance's $2 million donation to Chicago public schools last year.

    (Published 12 minutes ago)

    For him, those people are children with special needs and their families.

    "I think a lot of people out there need to realize that just because you have a learning difference, that shouldn't make a difference," Rushing said. "We're all here on this earth together."

    Rushing has a cousin who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. As a high school student, he volunteered as an aide in a middle school special education class. His fiancee, Ava, has a sister with autism and now runs an autism therapy center at a ranch. And his father, Chip, works for a nonprofit that helps families of special needs children in North Texas.

    Their latest push is to give those families more options to have fun in their communities.

    "It means a great deal to them to get out of the house with the children and be able to take them someplace," Chip Rushing said. "But there aren't a lot of places around here that will accommodate them."

    The Rushings recently approached the management at the Cinemark theaters in Roanoke and asked if they would consider offering sensory theater screenings for special needs children and their families.

    'Tonight': Anthony Mackie's First Time Smoking Weed

    [NATL] 'Tonight': Anthony Mackie's First Time Smoking Weed Got Him Chased by a Moose

    Anthony Mackie reminds Jimmy Fallon of the time they ate sushi with Mick Jagger at the Met Ball until 7 a.m., describes his first weed experience, which ended with him getting chased by a moose, and gives a brilliant recap of "Avengers: Infinity War."

    (Published Saturday, April 21, 2018)

    Because children with special needs can be more sensitive to light and sound, the screenings take place in theaters that aren't completely dark and that play films at a lower volume. Kids are also able to get up and move around the theater during the film.

    "I said, 'If I can get enough people to come would, you do it?'" Chip Rushing recalled. "Two days later they came back and said, 'Yes, let's do it.'"

    The theater hosted more than a dozen families Saturday for its first-ever sensory screening. Management has told the Rushings they'll do more of these events in the future.

    Chester Rushing is encouraging other theaters in theDallas-Fort Worth Metroplex to do the same.

    "Seeing their faces light up and that joy we can bring them through something like this. It's such a wonderful thing," said Chester Rushing. "Money can't buy the happiness."