College is a time for young adults to learn more about the world around them and their place in it.
Tom Carmean, head coach of the Guilford College men’s lacrosse team since 2010, wants to help the young men he works with gain perspective on people who are outside of their usual spheres. So last year, when one of the volunteer assistant coaches for the lacrosse team approached Carmean with the idea to have the team participate in the Greensboro Run/Walk for Autism, he was immediately on board.
Carmean himself does not have any loved ones with autism, but he has several friends who have children on the spectrum and knows how common it is. “I think everybody has some connection somewhere,” he said. “It’s extraordinarily prevalent these days.”
Last year, about 40 of the Quaker players and their coaches ran in the Greensboro Run/Walk for Autism, and they raised about $4,000 to support the local programs and services of the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC). They used social media to ask friends and family for donations above and beyond the registration fees.
Carmean said he was so impressed when he visited the local ASNC office to pick up their race materials and learned about the work the staff there does. “Nobody is doing it for any reason besides that they love to do it,” he said, mentioning that his sister is a teacher for children with special needs. “They do it with such passion. Anything that we can do to help out, that’s wonderful.”
On the day of the Run/Walk, Carmean had the team arrive early enough so they could get a feel for the event. Until then, they maybe didn’t really understand why they were participating. “I think they had a different perspective once they got started and they were there,” he said. “They kind of just got excited.”
Plus, the race gave the players team-building time and a workout, he said. “It was a fantastic event.”
The team will participate again this year on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Jaycee Park. Carmean plans to bring it up as soon as players are back in town, giving them more lead time on raising donations this year. “Our goal is full participation,” he said.
The team also plans to raise money to support individuals with autism and their families with a lacrosse tournament for high school teams on Nov. 11-12 at Guilford College. They will donate $50 of each team’s registration fee to the Autism Society of North Carolina and provide a booth with educational materials on autism and available resources. Carmean expects 25-30 teams to participate from North Carolina and neighboring states.
“We want to do stuff that’s part of the community,” Carmean said. “We love to do work with great organizations that are doing good things.”
Step out to improve lives in the ninth annual Greensboro Run/Walk for Autism on Saturday, Sept. 30! The event at Jaycee Park will include a 5K race and a recreational 1K run/walk. Celebrate autism awareness and acceptance with music, refreshments, and vendor space that will showcase local businesses, service providers, support resources, and sponsors. Proceeds will fund local programs of the Autism Society of North Carolina.
Register today: www.greensbororunwalkforautism.comTags: ASNC, autism, autism acceptance, autism advocacy, autism awareness, autism fundraiser, autism society north carolina, autism society of NC, Autism Society of North Carolina, Autism spectrum, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorders, autism support, greensboro run/walk for autism, Guilford College lacrosse, Run/Walk for Autism