My walk this year for the Los Angeles Walk Now for Autism Speaks was very different.
How was it different?
For the last seven years, I had been the Volunteer Chairperson for the LA walk. I had been responsible for the coordination and implementation of approximately 250 volunteers each year.
This walk, I took a break from volunteering.
What about the walk?
The walk is a fantastic day for families with autism and special needs. The energy is always positive, the people who run it, and who show up, are incredible.
Each year, the walk amazes me with numbers.
The numbers of people who show up to support autism awareness. Those numbers exceed 40,000 families, volunteers, and service people.
How was this year different for me?
I showed up with my family and just walked.
And, this allowed me to gain a completely perspective.
And, here’s what happened:
First, my family and I arrived early enough to spend quality time at the walk yet I didn’t have my usual 5am call time. We never felt rushed or too wiped to enjoy the walk.
Second, I walked the actual route for the first time ever.
We walked ahead of the crowds of walkers so my son could enjoy the walk without feeling like there were too many people around him.
Third, when we got back to the resource fair, I was allowed to casually walk around and not only leisurely check out the resource fair but I was also able to take my time when I ran into someone I knew. I wasn’t feeling all rushed. I was able to stay and actually talk to that person.
For example, I ran into a facilitator who works with my son. We were able to chat about some recent developments in my son’s social group. We had a nice, non-rushed chat.
Along the way, I did other things:
I thanked volunteers when I saw them. They’re my kind of people, and they deserve to be thanked.
I hugged old friends and the volunteers and staff members of Autism Speaks who I knew.
And, I even helped reunite a lost child with her family.
It was such a great day. I really enjoyed myself.
But, why did I really go?
Even though I wasn’t a committee member or a volunteer this year, I went to the LA autism walk to support my son with autism. I also went to support all of the families with members on the autism spectrum as well as those people who work with our families.
And, I went to support the people who continue to make this day special for so many people.
I had a great time at this year’s LA Walk Now for Autism Speaks, seeing it with different eyes, yet loving it all the same.
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