Inaugural Autism Awareness Walk Saturday, November 9th, 10:30am
Raising awareness in Chattanooga, North Georgia, and East Tennessee
|POST WALK PRESS RELEASE|
INAUGURAL AUTISM WALK TURNOUT AMAZES ORGANIZERS
Over 900 individuals participated in or supported the first ever Chattanooga Autism Awareness Walk held last Saturday at Coolidge Park. Dave Buck, Executive Director of the Chattanooga Autism Center said the sight was overwhelming. “The line stretched from River Street down in the park all the way up on the Walnut Street Bridge. I was deeply moved,” said Buck.
Gina Mitch, walk coordinator and mother of a child with autism coordinated and planned this project for over a year. Her hard work paid off. The committee’s fundraising goal was $30,000 but the unofficial amount raised was almost double, about $58,000.
“We had so many hard working volunteers who helped over the year and dozens more who helped at the event,” said Mitch. “We couldn’t have done it without them.”
Event organizers also attributed the success to the Greater Chattanooga region. “The individuals, businesses, and nonprofits from this area really care, and they work together better than any other region I know,” said Dave Buck. Eight area schools and a dozen private businesses and nonprofits created “teams” for the walk, as did many families. Almost 80 teams were made; the largest had 55 members and raised over $3700. Not everyone joined teams however. Hundreds of individuals and families registered just to be a part of the event.
The participants were treated to music, activities, vendors, an address from Mayor Berke, and a spectacular autumn view of Chattanooga from the pedestrian bridge. Volunteers decorated the bridge with dozens of huge banners that displayed facts about Autism Spectrum Disorders. Smiling walkers trekking the 2.3 mile route learned about Autism while enjoying the fall weather.
“Next year’s walk will be November 8th,” Buck explained, “And we’ll be working on making it more fun each time!” said Mitch.
The funds raised will be used to expand programs and services at the Chattanooga Autism Center. To learn more about the CAC, visit www.chattanoogaautismcenter.org or call them at 423-531-6961.
Did you know that the CDC recently estimated Autism rates in children to be 1 in 50? Did you know that individuals with Autism are affected in many different ways and need a variety of support as they grow from infants into toddlers, into teens, and on into adults?
If you want more answers or wish to help raise awareness about autism in our community, THIS EVENT IS FOR YOU!
The Chattanooga Autism Awareness Walk's mission is to teach people in our region about autism. Walkers will learn about what autism is, how prevalent it is, how it affects behavior, how it can be different across individuals and how it can affect one's journey through life. Walkers will also learn how families appreciate that their community better understands autism and what they are going through.
This walk also allows people and businesses in our region to demonstrate their support for individuals with autism and their families. We intend this to become the largest autism awareness walk in our region and for it to show how a community can come together and be a shining example for others.
We hope you join us by registering today. Even if you cannot attend this day, registering or donating will demonstrate your support for raising awareness about autism.
We especially invite people or businesses to create "Teams" and encourage their friends and family to register and join their team. We will be announcing prizes for the top teams (such as largest team, most money raised, team with members from the most states) as we get closer to the date.