Akron's Autism Society celebrating 5-K with special awards

AKRON -- At Ellet's Dream Out Loud Studios, it's hard to say what these creative minds will come up with next.

"I think within our own art studio we have a sense of community here that maybe wasn't there before," said Jacquie Owens.

This dream is part of the Summit County Developmental Disabilities Board -- an outlet for artists with disabilities to create one of kind artwork. Owens serves as the business innovations manager.

She says fine arts help these differently-abled folks "find their own voice."

That support is a mission that the Autism Society of Greater Akron shares, and it's why they called these Dream Out Loud artists when they needed help.

"For us to be holding our walk and our race and looking for prizes, we thought 'Oh my gosh. ... It just all makes sense," said the society's executive director, Laurie Cramer.

Cramer says June 14's 5-K is the Autism Society of Greater Akron's largest annual fundraiser. But it's also a place to bring families and their support teams together.

"I think really what you see on race day is a sense of raising autism awareness in our community. You see teachers, you see providers, you just see everybody come together with the families and say 'You know what, we're all in this together,' " said Cramer.

A lot of people are touched by that organization.

For the past several weeks, the artists have captured the spirit of the Akron Autism 5-K and walk on canvas, creating wall hangings that will be presented as awards to sponsors and participants.

"We're all proud of something that we do and can be able to share that," said Owens.

"That's exactly the idea we had behind it," said Cramer. "It was really an opportunity to showcase what everybody can do and what everybody brings. Those differences that don't matter on days like this."

WKYC's Sara Shookman is helping the Autism Society to kick off the fun Saturday, June 14, at 9 a.m. at Lock 3 in downtown Akron.

There is a timed 5-K race, timed 5-K walk and a 1-mile family fun walk. You can register or find more information by clicking HERE.


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