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Memorial 5K looks to raise awareness

The fifth annual Christine Padasak Memorial Autism Awareness 5K and Fun Walk will take place Saturday, Aug. 9
SPRINGVILLE—The fifth annual Christine Padasak Memorial Autism Awareness 5K and Fun Walk will step off Saturday, Aug. 9 at 9:30 a.m. Formerly the Autism Awareness 5K and Family Fun Run, this year’s event will also include an all you can eat pancake breakfast.

Hosting again this year will be the Children’s League, formerly the Pre-school Learning Center, to help raise awareness for autism programs at the Children’s League, as well as other programs offered.

The Children’s League serves approximately 120 students in-house and an additional number with early intervention services. Gerry Guild, a licensed behavioral psychologist with the Children’s League, stated that, although the center has just four classrooms for autism spectrum disorder students, they do require the most staff resources as well as complex services.

Due to a culmination of a program looking to get the word out and an organization looking to help out, the Christine Padasak 5K Memorial Autism Awareness 5K and Fun Walk got its start.

Joe Wolniewicz, a member of the Springville Kiwanis and race organizer, said that Kiwanis was looking for a summer program, and a local Eagle Scout needed a project.

“It was not originally intended as a fundraiser,” Wolniewicz said. “But to raise awareness of autism and the particular needs of those children.”

The race did turn into a fundraiser, however, with an average of 200 participants yearly, and all proceeds benefitting the Children’s League operation. Staff training and department “wish lists” are both made possible with the funds from the race, as well as day-to-day operation.

In addition to raising funds for the Children’s League, Guild said it is just as important to raise awareness for autism and the community outreach programs he conducts. The programs are usually held in medical centers and other places that offer easy access for parents to learn the importance of early intervention services.

When the Kiwanis Club got involved, a run and walk was suggested because it acts as an event that the entire family can participate in. More hardcore families can form a team and race the 5K, but those families who are just looking for something to do together can enjoy the walk.

“It’s a fun walk for families with young children. Those with older children or adults might get a team together and run,” said the Children’s League director Christine Lewis.

And pancakes don’t hurt.

The all you can eat pancake breakfast will begin at 9 a.m. for the general public. Runners’ and walkers’ breakfast is included in their entry fee.

The Christine Padasak Memorial Autism Awareness 5K and Fun Walk will take place on Aug. 9 at the Children’s League, located at 393 North St. The 5K will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the walk starting shortly after.

For more information, or to register for the event, visit or

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