BENEFITING: VARIETY CHILD LEARNING CENTER
EVENT DATE: Mar 16, 2014
On March 16, 2014 I will be running in the New York City Half Marathon. This is the first half marathon I have ever participated in and it has been very exciting as I’ve geared up to train for the big day!
I have decided to dedicate my run to an organization and cause that is very close to my heart: Variety Child Learning Center and autism awareness.
As many of you know, my brother Michael has autism, a disability that significantly challenges his ability to communicate. Diagnosed at the age of two, for most of our childhood Michael’s life was a closed book, the severity of his disability preventing me from understanding his world. Growing up with an autistic sibling has played a huge role in shaping the person I am today. It has taught me patience, understanding, and acceptance of those whose struggles may not always be apparent.
After being diagnosed, my parents enrolled Michael in an early intervention program at Variety Child Learning Center (VCLC). Variety is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization that provides special education programs for children with developmental and learning disabilities, including autism, along with programs and support services for families. Additionally, a major component of Variety’s mission is the training of early childhood professionals as well as ongoing research efforts that lead to improved educational and social outcomes for young children. Variety’s services are offered at no cost to families who enroll their children in its special education programs, making fundraising efforts a significant component of the center’s ongoing success.
My goal is to raise $1,310, representing the 13.1 miles I will be running, by March 16th in support of Variety, autism awareness, and to give back to an organization that gave so much to my family. Today, Michael is a High School graduate with good friends, a steady job, and is loved by everyone who meets him. With our shared love of the New York Yankees and recent debate on Derek Jeter’s career, I often forget that at one time Michael’s autism prevented him from speaking to me. Much of Michael’s success can be attributed to his days at Variety and the programs and dedicated staff who took the time to understand a child who could not find the words to express himself.
Please sponsor my participation in the New York City Half Marathon by making a donation to Variety Child Learning Center. With your help we can bring awareness to the autism spectrum disorder and support the many dedicated teachers, staff, and families who give so much as they embark on the unexpected but incredible journey of working with these children.
Thanks for your help, and wish me luck!
**For more information check out Variety Child Learning Center's website: http://www.vclc.org/