BY ROBIN ERVIN
Finally, a walk that doesn’t require much other than being ready to celebrate and have some fun! EVERYBODY enjoys a good walk in the park and Horizons Residential Care Center is asking folks to meet them at the park in April. There, on April 14th, we will walk in unified celebration and awareness of the area’s thousands of families living with autism and developmental disabilities.
Horizons will present “A Walk in the Park and Family Jamboree” from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A coordinated casual walk through Horizons Park will be held beginning at 9 a.m. As they finish, walkers will continue the celebration just across the street on Horizons’ scenic and spacious campus.
The Family Jamboree will include kids’ activities, music, craft vendors, an antique car show, community resource booths, food and much more!
The goal of A Walk in the Park is to shine a bright light on the area’s families that live with Autism and/or developmental disabilities. State health statistics estimate that at least 6,000 households in the Forsyth County area are touched by either autism or developmental disabilities. Yet, despite the large and increasing numbers, awareness of these conditions is not keeping pace with the growing instances.
“We know that there are so many families who every day live with the effects of autism, and families who have loved ones with disabilities. Every day they get up and push on in spite of the challenges they face,” says Richard Anderson, Horizons CEO. “We want to celebrate these families by joining them in a simple, yet festive, Walk in the Park. This simple walk will bring together families in similar situations and connect them with community resources. This day, by design, will be a day for them just to enjoy with others, make new friends and make new connections.”
The day-to-day circumstances of those living with developmental disabilities are well known to the organizers at Horizons. For more than 40 years, the agency has provided a home for children and adults living with developmental disabilities. While the majority of individuals come to Horizons from Forsyth and neighboring counties, some come from other areas of North Carolina or from neighboring states. Many of those that live at Horizons have also experienced some level of brain trauma, which has compromised their mobility and immune systems. Residents of Horizons live either at the primary location off of Germanton Road or at the Arches site on Bethabara Park Boulevard. Horizons staff decided to present A Walk in the Park because they know first-hand how much comfort and strength comes from knowing you are not in any situation alone.
“We provide hope. And we want to spread that hope. Well, the best way to do that is to let people know you are here for them,” Anderson says. “Horizons is here for families facing these challenges, and on April 14th we want everyone to come and take a walk with us. That’s where understanding and awareness begin. Just folks walking and talking together.”
Horizons is hopeful that those who want to show support and learn more will attend, in addition to those families living with disabilities. Walkers of all types are encouraged to come out and literally take a walk in someone else’s shoes and help celebrate what is discovered.
And, organizers say, don’t let the term “walk” deter you. Participants are signed on to come in wheelchairs, strollers, carriages and more. All ages and “walking” abilities are welcomed. There will be booths offering information on available community resources. There will be recognition for the largest groups participating, for those with the most family members and for the best outfits/T-shirts.
Registration for the walk is $25/person; group and family rates are also available. To register, volunteer or get more information, please call 336.767.2411 or e-mail email@example.com. Watch our website at www.horizonscenter.org for updates and to sign up for walk e-alerts.