The First Annual Walk for Autism hosted by the Autism Alliance of the Concho Valley kicked off Saturday morning.
The AACV is a brand new charity which was adopted in November as a program of the Arc of San Angelo.
According to founder of the AACV, Shanna Payne, the charity was founded as an alternative to the national program as a way to keep local money local, and to help local families living with Autism.
“Our hope is to provide a community, support system, events, sensory equipment grants and to meet the needs of families living with Autism right here in San Angelo,” Payne said.
Saturday was the organization’s first time hosting the Walk for Autism, where it provided resource booths, fruit, water, mascots and fun activities for the children.
“It is just a fun family event that builds community and lets people know about the resources that are available in the Concho Valley and to meet and talk to other families with Autism,” Payne continued.
The walk itself was short, but according to Payne the walk had several symbolic reasons behind it, such as the steps the organization has taken this year and the steps toward acceptance, awareness and support.
The walk was free, but participants were encouraged to ask for donations or to donate themselves.
There were registered walk teams consisting of families, friends and coworkers. Many of them had their own t shirts made to represent and support unity. Most of the teams rallied around a child or person with Autism.
Each team got to set their own fundraising goal. One team set a goal of raising $200 and one set its goal of raising $5000.
“This event would not have happened if it was not for our many great sponsors,” Payne said.
For more information about the organization, the sponsors or upcoming events, or to donate, visit thearcofsanangelo.org or the Autism Alliance of the Concho Valley on Facebook.