Walking for a special cause

Published 6:26 am Saturday, March 30, 2019

With the spring-like weather and melting snow, I can finally predict that the eighth annual Stepping Out for Autism Walk will not require snow shoes on Sunday, April 14.

This event is a celebration of, and for, the families who participate in the autism programming sponsored by the Hormel Historic Home. It is also a fundraiser so I hope you will consider participating in the event either through registering to walk, making a donation, or joining us for fun and fellowship during the event.

This year will mark the 10th year of our programming so this year is certainly one to celebrate. Since 2010, we have averaged 46 campers per season in 120 families. We’ve grown to offering three summer camps, three monthly recreational events, and bi-monthly parent/caregiver outreach events. And we now employ a dedicated person to drive our autism initiatives.

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You might be asking why? Why would a historic house museum offer programming for those on the autism spectrum? The answer is: because there is a need and because we can. With the addition of the Carriage Hall Event Center in 2009 a commitment to the community was made to find a way to serve a need. At that time there weren’t many educational or recreational summer opportunities available to those on the spectrum. The expanded Hormel Historic Home in 2010 had space, people with passion, and resources to start programming from scratch. We were, and continue to be, fortunate for the support of the community to serve the community.

Below are some of the reasons why families appreciate the HHH autism programming:

“He has met a friend at respite and looks forward to seeing him when he goes.”

“I appreciate the specialized program and am so grateful for the HHH. There are so few options in the area for autism specific programming.”

“He has really made advances in his social skills over the last three years and I know that the programming has helped him.”

“Getting my son out in the community is such an important part of life and knowing he enjoys this with others is so wonderful!!”

“My son showed so much growth this year in participation, staying with his group and trying new things.”

Supporters such as the United Way of Mower County, the Hormel Foundation, and Mayo Clinic Health Systems as well as private donations from Gary and Pat Ray, Dick and Nancy Knowlton, and Alison Hormel Webb have helped make a lasting impact in our community. But it takes the support of so many others to raise the funds necessary to provide the current programs and to plan for the future. These programs rely on YOU and we appreciate YOU!

Join us at 1 p.m. on Sunday, April 14, for a time of fellowship, support, and fun. To guarantee your t-shirt please register by Thursday, April 4 at the Hormel Historic Home or online at www.hormelhistorichome.org.

What’s happening at the HHH

ASD Parent/Caregiver Network Event

  • 6 p.m light supper; 6:15 p.m. presentation, Monday, April 1

Summer’s coming, are you ready? Learn about strategies and activities to help you and your family have a successful summer season. Free.

Stepping out for Autism Walk: Be an autism superhero

  • 1-3 p.m., Sunday, April 14

Join us as we celebrate and fundraise for the ASD programming. Register by Thursday, April 4 to guarantee your T-shirt. $15 for adults; $10 for children. All proceeds stay in Austin to support programming for youth and families on the Autism Spectrum.