This post is from Audrey Banach, Miss Kansas USA 2014. Audrey will be competing for the title of Miss USA 2014 on June 8th at The Baton Rogue River Center in Louisiana. You can learn more about Audrey from her personal website here.
My name is Audrey Banach and I’m currently a senior studying Communication Studies with a minor in Business Administration at Kansas State University. I’m also the current Miss Kansas USA 2014. I’ve been able to work closely with Autism Speaks through my fraternal organization Alpha Xi Delta.
What autism means to me can’t just be described in one word. After working with individuals and families touched by autism, it really is more of a community. This community displays characteristics of support, determination, love, and acceptance for children and peoples with autism and their families. My favorite times volunteering with Autism Speaks is when I get to have real interaction with families.
My younger cousin, Jared, has Asperger’s and wasn’t diagnosed until he reached middle school. Now Jared has been able to make leaps and bounds with his social, educational, and future goals. It’s pertinent for support and educational groups to grow and exist, because without them many children and families are not able to receive the support they need.
Whether it’s volunteering at Fiesta FrenXi, Xi Man, The AmaXing challenge, or the Kansas City Walk for Autism now, seeing families and their children together is something that warms my heart. I know that all the work that volunteers, families, and friends do for Autism Speaks has made a huge difference within the lives of children and individuals with autism.