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Autism walk raises awareness, funds for programming | Community Giving | nny360.com – NNY360

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Cloudy skies this evening followed by scattered showers and thunderstorms overnight. Low 63F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 50%..
Cloudy skies this evening followed by scattered showers and thunderstorms overnight. Low 63F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 50%.
Updated: September 12, 2022 @ 8:58 pm
About 300 people participated in the 15th annual Autism Awareness Walk Saturday morning at Canton Village Park. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times
The 15th annual Autism Awareness Walk Saturday had a video game theme. The crowd was sprinkled with Mario Brothers and Pac Man ghosts and other characters. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times
The 15th annual Autism Awareness Walk Saturday raised money for the Arc’s Jefferson-St. Lawrence Bridges Program. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times

St. Lawrence/Franklin County Editor
About 300 people participated in the 15th annual Autism Awareness Walk Saturday morning at Canton Village Park. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times
The 15th annual Autism Awareness Walk Saturday had a video game theme. The crowd was sprinkled with Mario Brothers and Pac Man ghosts and other characters. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times
The 15th annual Autism Awareness Walk Saturday raised money for the Arc’s Jefferson-St. Lawrence Bridges Program. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times
CANTON — Close to 300 people gathered at the Canton Village Park Saturday morning to raise awareness of autism spectrum disorders and raise money for the Arc Jefferson-St. Lawrence’s Bridges Program.
This is the 15th year for the walk, the Arc’s Director of Business Development and Community Relations Michelle I. Quinelle-Gayle said.
“In the beginning, the idea was to raise awareness of autism disorders, now it is autism acceptance,” she said.
That first year, Ms. Quinelle-Gale said, included about 150 people and raised about $7,000. Later years drew as many as 500 people and raised as much as $20,000.
The large crowd Saturday looked good, Ms. Quinelle-Gayle said, considering the last two walks were conducted virtually.
Participants in the walk included members of the SUNY Potsdam hockey team and students from St. Lawrence University’s Community Based Learning program.
“What I love about this,” Ms. Quinelle Gayle said, “is that many of the people we support are in the same age group as the students.”
Whitney N. Atkins, a program lead at one of United Helpers Individualized Residential Alternatives houses, was at the walk with several colleagues and clients. In keeping with the walk’s video game theme, her group was dressed as Pac Man ghosts.
This is the first time they have taken part in the Autism Awareness Walk, but not the first walk they have participated in.
“We’ve done seven walks just this year,” she said. “We like to get these guys out to community events.”
Just before the start of the walk, The Arc’s Foundation Executive Director Michelle Carpenter accepted a check from New York Life for $15,000.
The money would be used for updating sensory and community spaces and funding field trips and after-school clubs.
The Arc Jefferson-St. Lawrence’s Bridges Program, the main beneficiary of the walk, provides individualized services for people with developmental disabilities starting at 3 years old with a specialization in autism spectrum disorders.
Students participate in a variety of skill development activities addressing social, daily living, and academic skills using principles of applied behavior analysis. Additionally, services are offered in the child’s home, in the community, and in their school. For more information on these programs, call 315-386-3055.
Johnson Newspapers 7.1
St. Lawrence/Franklin County Editor
Slowly self-propelled. Two-time cancer survivor. Nearly 30-year newspaper veteran.
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