Club & Greek

AXiD Supports Austism Speaks at 10th Annual Walk

Sisters of Alpha Xi Delta and the Monmouth community gathered at Pier Village Community Center on Saturday, Sept. 26 to participate in the 10th annual Autism Speaks walk. Despite the harsh, coastal winds, approximately 3,000 participants were in attendance to help the organization raise a total of $175,000. Entertainment and excitement for all ages at the event included a live band, a bouncy castle, tattoo bus, and rock climbing. The walk held at Pier Village was the first of six events at the Jersey Shore to raise money for families affected by autism this year.

After last year’s walk was cancelled due to inclement weather, this years’ volunteers were relieved to find wind and clouds as their only obstacle.

“We love getting everyone out here for an amazing community day. This is one of our biggest philanthropy events of the year and it is a great experience to be a part of,” mentioned Angela Sarno, a senior education major and sister of AXiD.

Autism Speaks is the national philanthropy for AXiD, with the walk being the sororities’ largest event of the year, next to Karaoke For A Cause, which is held on Monmouth’s campus. “[The walk] is one of the favorite events held by the sisters, because here we can connect with the families on a personal level, and really become friends with the people we are trying to help,” said junior education major Ali Hart. Many sisters of AXiD enjoy giving back to Austism Speaks due to the fact a large portion of the sorority majors in special education.

Festivities for the event began at six a.m to kick off the 5K. Participants were met with donuts and refreshments by several AXiD girls, who also encouraged people attend the walk later that afternoon. Approximately 130 people ran the 5K, who were supported by friends and family rallying for the cause. After the race concluded, a number of local businesses set up booths for the supporting families who attended the event to browse around. The families dressed in their own unique t-shirts and costumes, which were meant to represent their family member or friend who is affected by autism. Entertainment at the booths included various amusements for children, which involved crafting birdhouses with Home Depot employees, a fun bus, and a visit from Star Wars troopers.

After the event, Autism Speaks Director and Field Developer, Lauren Gandulla said, “So far we have raised around $175,000 for our cause and just today received over $1,000 worth of donations before the walk even started! We hope to reach our goal of $400,000, and at this rate I can’t see how that isn’t a great possibility,” Gandulla commented. “[Nationally] AXiD raised $24,000, and I couldn’t be more grateful for their help and dedication.”

PHOTO COURTESY of Erin Schevlin