This Saturday, April 28, 2012 there will be a run or walk (your choice) that starts and ends in the historic Stadium Bowl in Tacoma to help raise money to combat autism. All proceeds benefit FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment) of Washington. Stadium Bowl at Stadium High School is located at 111 N. E Street Tacoma, Washington 98403. Registration is $30 through midnight on April 26, 2012 or $40 on the day of the event. The time schedule of the event is as follows: 8:00 – 8:45am is registration, 8:00am to 11:00am is the time attendees can peruse the silent auction items and purchase raffle tickets for other giveaways, 9:00am the race will begin, 9:20am – 11:00am will be the post-race activities (face painting, balloon artist, and bouncy house for the kids), music, 10:15am Kids Dash (this is free for children under age 10 and consists of one lap of the Stadium Bowl), 10:30am award ceremony (cash prizes for top three male and females in each age group), and 11:00am the winners of the silent auction and raffle will be presented.
ASICS technical microfiber running jerseys will be provided to the first 250 people that registered for the event. Aaron Edgley, race director of the Spring Forward 5K Run/Walk, commented: “This is the first time I actually helped run the event, I’ve seen it before; it’s nice. This year we’re making it extra special, by making it family friendly; we have a lot of people involved that have autistic children. FEAT has made this event more interactive for kids and anybody, to be more than a morning run. We’ll have some things at the end; a bouncy house, face painting for the kids, and silent auction and raffle for their parents.”
FEAT, a non-profit organization since 1996, offers clinical programming for young children that is rooted in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and it provides services to teens which emphasize the mastery of skills related to self-determination, self-advocacy, resilience, and independence. FEAT also engages with families to help them create effective in-home programs, navigate successfully through transitions, and meet with other parents who can offer guidance for the life journey of autism. Additionally, FEAT collaborates with local and national organizations to bring timely information to its members and it partners with other providers to deliver parent education and professional development services.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, CDC estimates the current prevalence rate for autism is 1 in 88. The factors include: environmental, biologic, and genetic – that may contribute to the likelihood of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are being studied. To date, there is no cure for ASDs, but the research does show early intervention treatment services can greatly improve a child’s development.
FEAT has many programs and services. The best thing about FEAT in Aaron’s opinion is “Super Saturday.” Super Saturday is a social and respite program promoting productive interaction between children with autism and their non-autistic siblings. Super Saturday improves leisure skills, and provides families with much needed respite. Aaron stated, “The people I’ve worked with that are volunteers, have children that are autistic. In my opinion, it really hits home because they do not just want to help their own children, but everybody else’s. You can tell they have a passion because of the assistance and programs they have set up.”
Aaron shared what many people may not know about the event, “We’ve done it at Stadium high school most years and the run itself is a nice scenic run. We wanted to make it real family oriented. Other runs get real competitive, but we will attract mothers in strollers and generally a pretty good mix of people. Some charity races are disguised as big time runner races; we really aren’t at all.”
Those that are interested in registering for the event can visit: https://www.databarevents.com/springforward5k.asp. For more information about FEAT please visit: http://www.featwa.org/. Aaron concluded: “I recommend families come to the event. If you’re a runner and have it in your heart to support a good cause, that’s great. If you’re someone any age or any ability to run you’re invited as well. It’s about getting people here, involved, and learning about autism… and helping us with the silent auction, raffle items, and raising money.”
By: Carly Calabrese, staff for Tacoma.com