Despite fears of Hurricane Sandy interfering with the inaugural Staten Island Walk Now for Autism Speaks, we beat the storm! On Sunday, October 28th, 3,000 people came out to Midland Beach in Staten Island to show their support for families struggling with autism spectrum disorders. Prior to the event, our walkers, led by the Staten Island Community Leadership Committee and co-chairs Teresa Flynn and Stephanie Prendergast, had raised over $150,000. With a goal of $100,000, our walkers had far exceeded our expectations for this inaugural Walk. However, between additional donations and merchandise sales, we brought in an additional $25,000 on Walk day, bringing our Walk to $184,330 raised to date!
Prior to the start of the Walk, we were honored to have the Staten Island Borough President, James P. Molinaro, address the crowd. He highlighted the importance of early intervention and support for children diagnosed with ASD. Additionally, we enjoyed fabulous performances from Evolution Dance Company, The New York Dance Company, Dance Sensations, Staten Island Dance Center, the Holy Family Parish Players, Partners in Sound, the Richmond County Theatre Brats, Comedienne Tracy Rosenberg, the Susan E. Wagner Theatre Group. Furthermore, we had a large amount of resource fair vendors, including A Very Special Place, Inc, Challenge Early Intervention Center, CityPro Group, Early Start, Eden II, Extended Home Care, Extraordinary Minds, Grace Foundation, Heartshare Human Services of New York, Holy Family Parish Players, Hybridge Learning Group, Iyaho Social Services, Kids Connect USA, Kinderdance, Lifestyles for the Disabled, On Your Mark, Parent to Parent NY Inc, Person Centered Care Services, SI Parents and Therapists United, Special Kitchen, Spectrum Social Skills Solutions, Staten Island Early Childhood Direction Center, Sunny Days Consulting and Theracare.
As the day progressed, the most exciting part of Walk day was the start. After a Zumba warm-up led by committee member Doris Velez, we counted down to the start of the Walk. We were honored to have Eden II’s Miracles, the highest fundraising team, cut the Walk ribbon and lead us down the boardwalk. After walkers returned, they slowly left the boardwalk proudly wearing their Walk t-shirts and Autism Votes stickers, with smiles on their faces. Together, walkers showed their support for our families and made it clear that Staten Islanders are working with Autism Speaks to improve the futures for all those struggling with autism spectrum disorders. Autism Speaks thanks walkers, volunteers, donors and supporters for making the inaugural Staten Island Walk Now for Autism Speaks an amazing success.
Walk Manager: Maeve MacKenzie, firstname.lastname@example.org, 646-843-6665