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Over 2100 People Enjoy Autism Family: A Full Recap of Arts, Beats and Eats 2016

7

September, 2016

Autism
Arts, Beats, and Eats
Community

Labor Day Weekend is a great time to relax, enjoy the outdoors and spend time with your family. Autism Alliance of Michigan worked with festival organizers at Arts, Beats and Eats to provide a special opportunity for families affected by autism.

Over 2100 people attended Autism Family Days presented by Kroger at Arts, Beats and Eats. These families were able to enter the festival an hour early, in order to enjoy the same festival in a calmer environment. On top of that, this totally free event included lunch, carnival rides and a day for the entire family to enjoy together.

A special thank you to Kroger and Arts, Beats and Eats for supporting this important event.

Garrett Winfrey

Garrett Winfrey

“We are always focused on ability, and you just never know what’s going to work. We thought he might like being on a team in middle school, and XC was a no-cut sport. Turns out, he liked running. And running has become a huge passion, allowing Garrett to be one of his peers, despite classic autism. He’s developing relationships. He’s fit and more focused. He’s learning how to manage through anxiety and success. Through running, he’s even beginning to envision what might happen after high school — last year, he declared he no longer wanted to be on a certificate path and wanted to pursue a diploma. So that’s what we’re doing!”

Move to the Beat 5K/10K

Arts, Beats and Eats is a weekend long event jam packed with mini-events. One of our favorites this year was the Priority Health 5K/10K Run. With over 500 runners, this exciting race circled the streets of Royal Oak promoting health and fitness.

There was one exceptional runner in the crowd that we want to shout out, Garrett Winfrey. Garrett finished 1st in the 13-19 age group and 4th overall in the 5K race with a time of 17:51. Running is Garrett’s thing, as varsity runners at West Bloomfield in both Cross Country and Track. And, Garrett happens to have autism.

Tamra Pickthorn, Garrett’s mother, told us, “We are always focused on ability, and you just never know what’s going to work. We thought he might like being on a team in middle school, and XC was a no-cut sport. Turns out, he liked running. And running has become a huge passion, allowing Garrett to be one of his peers, despite classic autism. He’s developing relationships. He’s fit and more focused. He’s learning how to manage through anxiety and success. Through running, he’s even beginning to envision what might happen after high school — last year, he declared he no longer wanted to be on a certificate path and wanted to pursue a diploma. So that’s what we’re doing!”

Modern Woodmen

A local chapter of Modern Woodmen came out to the Move to the Beats 5K/10K to run and volunteer. Representatives came with a check to support initiatives of AAoM in Michigan. A special thank you to the team at Modern Woodmen for recognizing a need within the community to support autism programming. We look forward to continuing this relationship.

Make sure to check out www.aaomi.org/events for upcoming Autism Alliance of Michigan events throughout the state.

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