As you know, the Foundation has made a big commitment to helping families stay active and embrace a healthy lifestyle. I am so pleased to share that our work in this area is being noticed in a big way. This week, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced that we have been selected to receive its prestigious Sports Award. This accolade honors our “Autism on the Go” initiative, which provides recreational and social activities for families affected by autism.
Susan Parziale, “Autism on the Go” recipient, is a great example of helping her 13-year-old, non-verbal, daughter Jenna stay active. With mom’s support, Jenna has embraced running as an outlet to get her body moving and keep focus. Susan was determined to get her daughter out there, and slowly, but surely, Jenna worked up to running several laps around her local high school track. Now, Jenna is pushing towards her goal of competing in her school’s 5k in March 2017! In addition to building Jenna’s confidence, running has had an impact on Jenna’s behavior. Her family has seen a marked decrease in self-stimulatory actions and an increase in her ability to focus for longer periods of time. Inspired by the remarkable benefits she has seen in Jenna, Susan has also brought an inclusive running and wheelchair training program called ‘Team VERGE to Jenna’s school. For more information about Team VERGE please visit: http://www.teamverge.org.
Jenna has certainly inspired me to get out there and lace up my sneakers, especially with the Flutie 5K on Sunday, October 2nd. This annual event, now in its 17th year, is a great opportunity to get the family moving and support the Flutie Foundation. It’s always a fun day for all and certainly a great way to expose your kids to the benefits of running, even if they aren’t ready to wear a race bib yet! Walkers are also welcome to participate. For race information, please visit: http://17thflutie5k.kintera.org.
I’m always interested in hearing how you and your family are staying active, so please share!
Wishing you all a great start to the school year,