Contact: Hannah Henning
For Immediate Release
Heartspring program kicks off annual Autism CARE Walk campaign to benefit local children
Wichita, Kan.— The Heartspring Community of Autism Resources and Education (CARE) Program will bring together more than 5,000 autism advocates at the ninth annual Autism CARE Walk, presented by Cox Communications. The event will begin at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, 2016, downtown at the WaterWalk. Participants are challenged to create teams and to fundraise for the Heartspring CARE Program, which provides outreach training, consultations and programs to support individuals and families impacted by autism.
The walk has grown from nearly 500 participants in its first year in 2007 to more than 5,000 participants at the 2015 event. The increased support allowed the Heartspring CARE Program to expand its services and programs with some areas doubling or tripling the number of children served within the last year.
“We are so excited to be expanding our program to serve more children impacted by autism,” Nicole McLain, director of CARE and autism outreach, said. “Last year, our summer camp, Camp SSTAR, increased from a two-week program to an eight-week program. We were also able to expand our CARE Clubs from one club to 12 clubs each with unique themes and focuses.”
Free registration opens on Monday, Feb. 1, 2016, on the Autism CARE Walk website www.autismcarewalk.org. Participants have the opportunity to further their support by purchasing a T-shirt for $10, which provides a child the opportunity to attend one week of Heartspring CARE Clubs. These clubs allow children to learn valuable social skills, build confidence and make friendships while participating in different group activities and discussions.
“We are committed to keeping this event 100 percent free as an outreach effort to support the children and families impacted by autism,” Dusty Buell, Heartspring director of marketing, said. “The sheer number of people that have joined ‘#TeamCARE’ over the past couple of years speak for themselves, and we want them to continue this journey to awareness with us.”
Scott Evans, KWCH12 morning news anchor, will host the walk for the second year. Before and after the walk, attendees will enjoy family activities in an autism-friendly environment.
Heartspring is a worldwide center for children with special needs. The residential school, outpatient pediatric services, and the Community of Autism Resources and Education (CARE) Program aim to help children of all ages succeed by gaining the skills necessary for a more independent lifestyle.