The Autism Speaks Walk is an annual fundraising event to support Autism Speaks, the world's foremost autism advocacy organization. The Walk takes place all across the United States and Canada, and is the largest autism walk program in North America.
Beginning in 2005, the Autism Speaks Walk (formerly known as “Walk Now for Autism Speaks”) has raised $266 million, growing more and more popular every year. Last year, a stunning 415,000 people participated in walks. These are volunteers, mostly consisting of families, schools, businesses, and community organizations.
This year, 60 walks are scheduled. Walkers can register as teams or as individuals, and their goal is to collect donations from family, friends, and anyone else kind enough to do so. If you'd like to support the cause, you can find and register to participate in a local Autism Speaks Walk by searching for the nearest event location. You'll find everything you need to get started, including tools and guides for fundraising.
Or, if you'd like to make a donation to a Walker, you can visit their site and then select an event location. Then, just click the “Donate to a Walker” button.
Many Walkers have family or friends with autism, motivating them to make a difference. Take a moment to read a tender story written by a girl named Amy, whose brother Jack has autism. Titled “Why I Walk: For my brother, Jack,” Amy describes her relationship with her younger brother and her mission to raise support for better autism treatments, both for her brother and people with autism everywhere. It's a touching and thoughtful story that will tug on your heartstrings.
Autism Speaks Walk events help the cause not only by raising money, but also by raising awareness of ASD (autism spectrum disorder). Every event includes information and resources for people to learn more about autism, how it affects people's lives, and why it's important.
Some locations even host kick-off celebrations, like down in Palm Beach, Florida. These gatherings are meant to raise awareness, to drum up some more participation, and to get people excited for the upcoming walk. The event featured guest speakers from autism advocacy organizations, and the attendees left feeling more inspired and motivated than ever.
A New Year, a New Sponsor
This year the Autism Speaks Walk has a new official North American sponsor. The Alpha Xi Delta women's fraternity has been a partner of the Walk for several years, but now they're upping their commitment and becoming the official sponsor of the Walk.
Alpha Xi Delta has raised over $4 million for Autism Speaks since 2009, and members take part in a variety of activities to raise support and awareness of autism.
Elysia Gallivan, executive director of Alpha Xi Delta, is happy to be able to help. “We’re very proud of the work our members have helped Autism Speaks accomplish,” she said. “This partnership is especially meaningful for our sisters, families and friends as the number of people affected by autism continues to increase. We’re excited for the next phase of our partnership.”
Autism Speaks is sponsoring a challenge on HeroX.com, inviting people to submit breakthrough ideas for housing and residential supports for adults with autism. Click here to learn more about the Autism Speaks House to Home Prize, including how you can submit your own ideas and win up to $150,000.