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Resource Center To Host Annual ‘Step Up for Autism’

CELORON — Everyone is invited to show their support for people on the autism spectrum when The Resource Center hosts the 10th annual Step Up for Autism celebration on Saturday, Sept. 21.

Step Up for Autism takes place at The Resource Center’s administrative office building at 200 Dunham Avenue in Celoron. The event is being coordinated by TRC and Filling the Gap Inc., with support from village officials and family members of people with autism.

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 for a hot dog lunch. There also will be face painting, a basket giveaway and a sweets auction featuring cakes and other goodies donated by area businesses. Information about services and supports available to people on the autism spectrum also will be available.

A new activity this year will be a free car seat safety check. Certified child passenger safety technicians will be on hand from 9 a.m. to noon to help parents ensure they have the right car seat for their children and are using it the right way. This service is being provided by the Chautauqua Children’s Safety Education Village, which notes that about 75% of car seats either are not used the right way or are installed incorrectly.

Registration and check-in for the walk begin at 9 a.m., with the walk scheduled to start at about 10:30 a.m. from the rear parking lot. The sweets auction and drawing of auction prizes will begin indoors at around noon. The entire event should be finished by 1 p.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 paying the registration fee will receive a 2019 Step Up for Autism T-shirt.

Those planning to participate can create a fund-raising web page by visiting crowdrise.com/filling-the-gap-inc. People can set up their own individual fund-raising page, or they can create a team page that team members can promote to solicit donations.

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.

“This event brings together families and community members in a fun and unique way,” Bardo said. “Families also share information, successes, and milestones, and some go on to form friendships that can last a lifetime.”

Major sponsors of this year’s event include FSC Systems, Nestle Purina, Premier Consulting Associates, Saxton Kocur and Associates, and UPMC Chautauqua.

All money raised through Step Up for Autism will stay in Chautauqua County to support people on the autism spectrum and others with developmental disabilities. Most of the proceeds support The Resource Center’s SUCCESS program, which teaches socialization skills to children and young adults who have autism.

The Applebee’s restaurants in Dunkirk and Lakewood will conduct fund-raisers for Step Up for Autism on Wednesday, September 18. If people turn in a special coupon when they pay their bill that day, 10 percent of what they pay will be donated to Step Up for Autism. The coupon is available from The Resource Center or Filling the Gap.

For more information or to register, phone 661-1477, email vicky.bardo@resourcecenter.org or visit stepupforautism.com.

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