The rain did not stop over 100 people from attending the first ever Fun and Run for Autism on campus Saturday morning, sponsored by the Fresno State Autism Center.
Behavioral Institute executive director Tim Yeager called the fun and run, Part of the last event for Autism Awareness Month, a success. The Behavioral Institute, which runs the Autism Center, provides principle-based behavior therapy for children ages 18 months to 6 years old.
“We have two goals,” Yeager said. “We want to bring awareness to autism and the services we provide as well as raise money to create a scholarship account,” Yeager said.
A special 400-yard run for children was one of the highlights of the event, as well as carnival attractions including bounce houses, food trucks, game booths and a dunk tank featuring Fresno State President Dr. Joseph Castro, Yeager and the college of math and science’s dean, Andrew Lawson.
“It’s important for community events like this to bring awareness, so when parents have children that are between the ages of 1 to 2, they can start to be aware of what autism is and the signs to identify early,” Yeager said.
Volunteer Paola Nieto said that not many students know much about the Autism Center on campus and hoped that events like this could help change that.
“We’re always in need of people to help and volunteer, so we just want people to know and be more aware that the center exists on campus and try to get more involved in it,” Nieto said.
Psychology major Emily Fonseca, who participated in the run, said that the rain did not discourage her from joining the event.
“There are a lot of kids with autism and there are a lot of kids who need the special education and the help,” Fonseca said. “What we can do now is to erase the stigma of autism and bring awareness to it.”