Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Autism Walk 2008

As most of you know I have a couple of things that I am one hundred percent passionate about. One of them is autism.

Last fall, the agency that I work for decided to host our first annual Walk for Autism to benefit the Coachella Valley Autism Society of America (CVASA). We set out to have 250 walkers and raise 25,000 dollars. We knew it would be a huge task but thought that with hard work (and prayer as far as I was concerned) we would be able to pull it off. As we got closer to the date, we started looking for people and groups to volunteer and to walk in the walk. That's when the Journey began....

I first approached Shawn about forming a group for the walk of people from the Journey. Little did I know that my "favorite" employee and, more importantly, my friend was ahead of me. She formed a team and started recruiting people like crazy. Later, we needed some signs made for the walk itself and my boss suggested that the young adult group from my church make the signs. So one late night after Fuel, some very dedicated and creative young adults made approximately 25 signs. They were beautiful. Even the brown donations sign.

The day of the walk approached and my coworkers and I had tried to think of every possible crazy thing that could go wrong. The night before the walk we had to close online registration because we already had 516 people signed up. We were freaking out. I was praying.

The day arrived and we were up early. Well, I slept through my alarm but I still was up at 5:45. On a Saturday. But I digress. We started setting up and prepared for an awesome day.

And it was.

People started arriving at the walk and we were continually blown away as we kept seeing more and more people arrive. Journeyers arrived and started to congregate in the middle of the lawn. Soon, my boss approached the Journeyers and asked if they would be willing to stand along the walk route and direct traffic and encourage the walkers. They willingly volunteered and were quite enthusiastic along the route.

At the end of the day, nothing had gone terribly wrong, which was good. But the best part was, we raised 34,000 dollars and had approximately 600 walkers. It was amazing! Seeing so many people out, united for such an important cause was fantastic.

The best part for me was after the walk, my boss approached me and said how grateful she was for the people from the Journey that helped out along the walk. It was really awesome to know that the Journey came together to help people that they didn't necessarily know and didn't necessarily have to help. Not only that, but it made a difference in the lives of the kiddos that I love and the people that I work with. I try to be a light in my workplace in everything that I do, and with the help of the people of the Journey (whom I love so so so so so much!) the lives of my coworkers have been touched.

Look out for Autism Walk 2009!!!!!

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