People from all walks of life will come together on Sunday, Sept. 10, to support the 3rd annual Kennedy Center Autism SpectRUN at Jennings Beach, Fairfield.

Committee member Amy Dingwall of Trumbull said, “This event is one of the few activities my entire family can do together.  My son is involved in the adult autism day program. Every year we look forward to wearing color-coordinated team outfits. It’s also a nice way to raise awareness for autism and at the same time raise necessary funds for the Autism Project.”

Diana Paulin of Stratford is planning to participate with family and friends.

“The Autism SpectRUN offers a great way to support The Kennedy Center and spend time with my two children,” said Paulin. “It’s a fun community celebration.” Paulin’s daughter is involved in the Autism Project.

The 5K Run/Walk and Mile Stroll includes two designated routes: 5K Timed Race and 1 Mile Walk/Stroll, both starting at 9 a.m. Registration opens at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 8:45 a.m.

Earlier, a free non-competitive Children's Race will kick off at 8:30 a.m., where every child is a winner.

In addition, Parking Lot Zumba will get you warmed up for the race at 8:45 a.m.

Participants of all ages are encouraged to wear colorful attire and decorate their strollers or wagons.

There will be lots of amusing activities for the kids to enjoy, including Casey Carl’s Bubblemania, Bounce House, face painting, sensory tents, games, and entertainment.

Food trucks will also be part of the festivities.

Aubrey Van Kirk of Stratford, a former Kennedy Center client then volunteer with the Autism Project, is in training to run in the race. “I want to give back to The Kennedy Center because the Autism Project provided me with excellent work-life skills,” said Van Kirk, whose mother Wendy is a committee member. “Plus, it’s great exercise.”

After the race, snacks at the VIP tent will be provided for the runners by Taco Loco and the Aquarion Water Truck.

Prizes will be awarded for most colorful child, adult and team, most dollars raised — individual and team, and for the timed race — male and female champions plus top finishers in eight age groups.

Online registration is open until Sept. 9 or register at the event, which takes place rain or shine.

The participation fee is $30/adult, $15/children 18 and under, and children 5 and under are free.

SpectRUN sponsors include: 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., and UB Clinics; and Media Sponsor Radio Station STAR 99.9.

For information, call Jo Ann at 203.365.8522, ext. 229, email jmcmullan@kennedyctr.org or visit KC-Autism.org to register online.  

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.