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Step Up for Autism celebration is Sept. 24

Participants pose before the start of the 2019 Step up for Autism walk. The event returns for the first time in three years September 24.

Everyone is invited to show their support for people on the autism spectrum when The Resource Center hosts the 13th annual Step Up for Autism celebration Saturday, Sept. 24.

Step Up for Autism takes place at The Resource Center’s administrative offices at 200 Dunham Ave., Celoron. The event is being coordinated by Filling the Gap Inc. and The Resource Center with support from people with autism and family members.

Activities include a 1.5-mile walk in which participants will make their way to Lucille Ball Memorial Park on the shore of Chautauqua Lake, then return to The Resource Center. There also will be a basket giveaway as well as a sweets auction featuring cakes and other goodies donated by area bakeries and businesses. Information about The Resource Center, along with information about services and supports available to people on the autism spectrum, also will be on hand.

Registration and check-in for the walk will begin at 8:30 a.m., with the walk scheduled to start at about 10 from the back parking lot. The sweets auction and drawing of basket raffle prizes will begin at about 11:15 a.m.

Businesses, school groups and others are encouraged to put together walking teams of family members, friends and co-workers. The entry fee is $20 per person, but people are welcome to take part in the walk without paying the fee. Those who pay the registration fee will receive a 2022 Step Up for Autism T-shirt. T-shirts and other Step Up for Autism memorabilia will be available for purchase.

Those planning to participate can create a fund-raising web page to collect donations.

People can set up their own fundraising page, or create a team page that team members can promote to solicit donations.

In addition to the in-person Step Up for Autism walk, there will be a virtual option for people who are unable to attend the event but want to do their own walk to show support for those on the autism spectrum.

Event organizer Victoria Trass Bardo, development and event manager for Filling the Gap, said Step Up for Autism is a great way for people with autism and their families to connect with one another, while giving the community the opportunity to demonstrate support for those on the autism spectrum.

“We are very excited that our event this year can be held in person. There is something special when we see the parents and their families attending the event and having a great time. Our sweets auction and basket raffle are a few of our crowd favorites. We truly thank our supporters for stepping up to assist us again this year. We hope we are joined by families, friends and community members who want to show their support for our efforts this year,” she said.

Sponsors include Brown & Brown Insurance, New Vision Services, HM Insurance, RX Benefits, Support Enterprises, and TEAM Services.

Money raised through Step Up for Autism will stay in Chautauqua County to support people on the autism spectrum and others with developmental disabilities.

The Applebee’s restaurants in Dunkirk and Lakewood will conduct “Dinning to Donate” fund-raisers to benefit Step Up for Autism on Wednesday, Sept. 21. A portion of people’s meal tab will be donated to Step Up for Autism. A certificate must be presented.

For more information about Step Up for Autism or to obtain an Applebee’s “Dining to Donate” certificate, phone 716-661-1477 or visit www.stepupforautism.org.

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