NYPD School Safety Division and Youth Strategies Division host autism fundraising walk at Fresh Meadows – QNS.com
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NYPD’s school safety division, Queens South & Youth Strategies Division, held their first 5K Autism Walk at Cunningham Park in Fresh Meadows on Saturday April 24 to raise autism awareness and show support for parents struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 500 participants registered for the “I Walk for Autism” event, much to the delight of XO Sharpe of NYPD Safety Queens South School, who came up with the idea for the walk.
The event was also the kick-off for his band’s second walking season.
Since gyms were closed due to the pandemic, she and her colleagues have started walking, setting a new distance goal each month, eventually hitting 75 miles in one month, Sharpe said.
“So when the next year came up, I was like, ‘You know, I think we should have a fundraiser, Let’s do something.’ And March has come, and I was like ‘okay’, so we’re going to do it in April, ”Sharpe explained.
After considering what cause they should donate to, they decided to contribute to Birch Family Services and New York Families for Autistic Children (NYFAC) with the help of NYPD officers Barrett and Barksdale from the Division of youth strategy, who maintain close relationships with organizations. .
It only took a month and a half for the organizers to organize the event. Registration ranged from an additional $ 15 $ 20, which came with a t-shirt, at $ 45, which included a t-shirt and a gift bag. The NYPD school safety official pointed out that the NYPD donated basketballs with the names of the fallen officers, which they gave to attendees.
“We’re looking to give back, it’s our most important thing, which we really wanted to give back,” Sharpe said before proudly declaring that the event raised $ 13,000, which was shared between Birch and NYFAC.
James Sherry, CEO of NYFAC, said his organization is looking for opportunities to deepen their relationships in the community and is proud to partner with the NYPD School Safety Division and the Youth Strategy Division to the event.
“I want to say from the bottom of my heart, thank you to everyone who made a donation, to everyone who signed up today. I promise you the proceeds from this surgery will be used to help adults and children with developmental disabilities and autism, ”Sherry said at the verification ceremony.
NYFAC supports both adults and children with autism and other developmental disabilities and provides in-home support to individuals and families and after-school respite. The organization is also developing pre-professional and employment-oriented programs this year. Sherry explained that the organization is currently accepting new participants and interested families can contact them at www.nyfac.org.
Debbie Costagliola of Birch Family Services was grateful for being chosen and thanked everyone for the donation.
“In the days of budget cuts, in times of hardship, it really warmed our hearts. And I promise you that the families of the children will certainly use these funds, ”said Costagliola.
Birch Family Services was founded in 1975. It serves over 2,000 people aged 3 to 3 living across town and provides educational and community services, and empowers families by providing resources to navigate and access support services for their loved ones.
The participants, programmed in waves to ensure their social distancing, began the march under a canopy of colorful balloons to the tunes of lively music.
Michelle and Reggie Dupont participated with their young daughter Liana. They heard about the event because Michelle is a school safety officer.
“I think it’s great. My nephew is on the spectrum, so I’m walking for him, ”said Michelle Dupont.