Kennedy Center Autism SpectRun raises $25,000

The 3rd annual Kennedy Center Autism SpectRUN was held at Jennings Beach in Fairfield. Elaine Schwartz of Trumbull, with her husband Martin D. Schwartz, President and CEO of The Kennedy Center, State Senator Tony Hwang (28th District) flanked by princesses, and Dr. Pietro Andres and his wife Kristine of Fairfield gather for the event that raised $25,000.

The community came together to make the 3rd annual Kennedy Center Autism SpectRUN a success.

More than 300 participants of all ages walked or ran: from babies riding in rainbow colored strollers to fit octogenarians spiffed out in their professional running attire.

Jennings Beach in Fairfield provided the backdrop: blue skies and temperatures in the 70s. Anna Zap, the morning show host at STAR 99.9, got the party started with her motivational sound bites and upbeat music blaring from gigantic speakers.

A total of $25,000 was raised for the Kennedy Center’s Autism Project.

For the timed race, Anthony Bruno of Oxford was the top male winner, while Rebecca Blanchard of Stamford was the top female and overall race winner.

The overall winner of the 5K timed race for the Autism SpectRUN at Jennings Beach in Fairfield was Rebecca Blanchard of Stamford, pictured with her daughter Keira. She is being congratulated by Martin D. Schwartz, President and CEO of The Kennedy Center in Trumbull.

Over 40 volunteers who staffed the event, many of which were from the National Charity League, and Students and Athletes Serving Others (SASO), both from Fairfield.

“This major fundraiser benefits the Autism Project, a vital program for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families,” said Martin D. Schwartz, President and CEO of The Kennedy Center.

“We are able to provide these services because of the community’s generosity. We received overwhelming support from participants all over Fairfield and New Haven Counties.”

The festivities kicked off with two non-competitive children’s races: 100-yard scampers dash for children sixth grade and under and a Kid’s challenge ¼ mile race for children ninth grade and up.

In addition, the parking lot rocked with Zumba warm up moves.

The day continued with the 5K timed race and 1 Mile Walk/Stroll.

Participants got in the spirit of the day and wore multicolored, pastel tutus with metallic decorations, tie-dyed leggings, princess costumers and even zany hats.

On the sidelines, children enjoyed lots of activities, including Casey Carl’s Bubblemania, the Bounce House, face painting, sensory tents, games, and entertainment.  

After the race, participants snacked at the VIP tents hosted by Taco Loco, Noosa Yoghurt, Trader Joe’s and the Aquarion Water Truck.

Many prizes were awarded ranging from most colorful to the most dollars raised.

SpectRUN sponsors included: Bib Sponsor Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of CT; Mile Sponsors Frontier Communications and Bowlmor Lanes; Color Sponsors Pediatric Healthcare Associates, Mobile Veterinary Clinic, iMed Chiropractic/Integrated Medicine of Fairfield, Newtown Savings Bank, Universal Printing & Mailing Services, Inc., Fred’s Car Wash, BHC&B, UB Clinics, and Media Sponsor STAR 99.9.

The Kennedy Center’s Autism Project is dedicated to providing affordable comprehensive programs and services to families and children with ASD. Since 2006, The Autism Project has served more than 500 families and has become one of the leading providers in Fairfield and New Haven Counties of these supports for children with ASD and their families.

The Autism Project provides children and families with information referral and resources; family support and service coordination, financial assistance, support for children in community activities, wrap-around supports, experienced staff and new services for unmet needs within the community.

The Kennedy Center, founded in 1951, is an internationally accredited, nonprofit, community-based rehabilitation organization that currently serves over 2,000 individuals annually.

The agency actively responds to the needs of the community by offering innovative, comprehensive service options to persons with disabilities and special needs, from birth to senior years.

The Kennedy Center operates 30 community experience programs, 16 group homes, an industries program composed of six businesses, supported and competitive employment and job placement services, a family support and respite service, travel training, and a variety of children’s programs.

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