Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Autism Walk Attracts Hundreds

Families gather to support loved ones
The sun was shining and the water was glistening as hundreds of family members came out to support the ASRC Autism Awareness Walk at Cole Park on April 20. 

Started seven years ago by CBAA (Coastal Bend Autism Advocacy) the Autism Awareness Walk has become a tradition in this area.  This was the first time ASRC planned the Walk, and volunteers started preparing months ahead of time to ensure its success.  ASRC was fortunate to get corporate support from HEB, Valero, Denny Bales Jewelers, Whiskey River, Weinerschnizel, Sprouts, Rudys BBQ, and Pepsi, which made the Walk even better.

Walking along the water

Some of the highlights included tables with local resources, a child finger printing station, the police museum, food and drink booths and children's activities.  Kids played games, made crafts, got their faces painted and even had balloon animals made.  Parents were able to learn about local organizations and get their questions answered. 

Mayor Nelda Martinez, Walk Organizer Sandra Lynch,
Police Chief Simpson and ASRC President Bill Butler
After some music, the police chief spoke about the police's awareness of autistic individuals and their plans in place in case one was in an emergency.  The mayor spoke as well, and read a proclamation before giving the official "send off" to the walkers.  Police Chief Simpson led the way, with a sea of bright blue shirts following. As the walk completed and the mayor returned, she graciously had her picture taken with several of our special children. 

Families and groups showed their support by wearing team tshirts and carrying signs for their loved ones.  Music therapy clients played songs, and then some professional musicians performed including Dezi B, a nine year old singer, and Flatline, who sang the emotional rap about autism "When the Children Cry."

Overall, there were a lot of smiles, positive energy and support- and we can't wait until the Walk next year!