“We just want to raise community awareness for what autism is, and not only how it affects our students, but the families that have students with autism," said Lauren Zima, behavior specialist for the school district.
More than 80 students with autism laced up their running shoes with their families, teachers and supporters.
"It’s great that we are all out here walking to support each other's families and each other's children in their classrooms," said Dianne Freeman-Jones, parent of two children affected by autism.
And for Jennifer Morris, whose son has autism, it’s a sign that the community is paying attention.
"I see a lot of my friends and community members that I didn’t know had this on their mind, thinking about it," said Morris. "At least starting a conversation about it and maybe they will be encouraged to ask me some questions that maybe on a daily basis they are a little nervous or unsure to talk to me about."
From the youngest to oldest and even hairiest walker, the event was a first of many to bring awareness to those affected by autism in the community.
"It’s just a celebration of them," said Zima, "So I think they are going to have an awesome time and more importantly, the parents are going to understand that we as a district are starting to understand where they are coming from, and help to support them and their families and their students."
This school year the