Despite the cold and windy day, more than 400 community members came to the LaPorte County Fairgrounds for the 15th Annual Autism Society of North Center Indiana’s (ASNCI) Walk-a-thon on Saturday morning.
American Licorice Company, a sponsor of the event, was more than happy to be a part of the ASNCI as their support helps to provide much needed services to families with autistic children. American Licorice Company is always eager to find organizations within their community that invest in the happiness and wellness of others.
“Every year we are so excited to sponsor the Autism Society of North Central Indiana’s Walk-a-thon, as it supports the families within the communities that mean so much to us. We will be excited to see friendly faces and get moving on a nice spring day in the honor of supporting, educating, and empowering those with autism and their families”, said Della Lyle, who is in charge of community outreach and sustainability for American Licorice Company.
For an organization like this to run, events like the walk-a-thon are vital, and support from companies like American Licorice make a huge difference.
“The support should be there for all autism children and their families. That’s why the Autism Society is an important organization to sponsor, the help is needed in all communities. I wish there were more information out there to help everyone,” said American Licorice employee Donna Mitchell.
“My granddaughter is non-verbal. We just found out a few years ago, she is seven years old, so this was all new and very hard to understand. But with the support of others and finding the correct information that you need, it helps you to see that the future is not dark, but very bright for these children,” said Mitchell.
Many vendors attended to meet with the families who participated. They offered products and services including autism-themed jewelry and in-home health care. Parents learned about organizations offering music therapy, job assistance, and many other services.
The work of ASNCI in providing support and programs for children with autism leaves a huge impact on so many. From day camps in the summer, to teen nights, the ASNCI is an incredible resource that all parents and families need.
“I believe statistically right now, one in 80 children born in this country have some degree of Autism. Our daughter had severe, low-functioning autism, and for us at the time, we needed to find parents who were going through the same thing,” said Mary Potrzebowski, who fosters two boys with autism.
The annual walk-a-thon not only raises awareness within La Porte and surrounding communities, but it also is a big fundraising event for the organization.
President of the ASNCI said, “This is our biggest fundraiser of the year, so we kind of use all of this money to fund our camp, our teen nights, scholarships, parties that we do. We try to make everything free to the parents just because there’s such a demand for medical bills and therapies.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony kicked off the walk around the La Porte County Fairgrounds. Republican Mayoral candidate Tom Dermody and Indiana State Representative Jim Pressel invited several of the children to help them cut the ribbon for the walkers.
“For me to be out here is one thing, to learn about the problems. But to see how the parents and the relatives and friends and family are just so supportive of bringing more awareness to it I think is huge. On such a cold day too. Great to see everybody out here today”, Pressel said.
If you would like to learn more about the ASNCI visit them at www.autismsocietyofindiana.org.