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WNC Run/Walk for Autism Inspires Pride



Jesse Trimbach and his father, Joe, at the WNC Run/Walk for Autism

Jesse Trimbach is 28 and lives in his own apartment in Asheville. He uses public transportation to get to the Habitat for Humanity office, where he volunteers doing data entry. He takes pride in making his own meals and in being independent.

Jesse was diagnosed with autism at 2½ years old. He was in mainstream classes through his school years, with some supports, and has taken some courses at a technical college. He has worked at a library and at a funeral home doing data entry, and he is interested in computers and politics.

His mother, Kathy, said, “Jesse has accomplished a tremendous amount, and we are very proud of him.”

“Jesse is able to live on his own with support from the Autism Society of North Carolina,” Kathy said. A community skills instructor assists Jesse with organization, conversation and social skills, cooking, and safety issues.

Jesse’s parents recently traveled to Europe, and they knew he would be fine while they were gone both because of Jesse’s ability to live independently and because of the services from the Autism Society of North Carolina (ASNC).

“Their staff is trained in autism, since it is their primary focus,” she said. “And it’s a collaborative effort between parents and the workers. I feel like I can talk with them about anything.”

The family’s experience with ASNC has inspired them to participate in the WNC Run/Walk for Autism, ASNC’s fundraiser held each September at UNC-Asheville. They have attended every year since moving to Asheville from Seattle about six years ago, and they have raised money as part of Team Trimbach.

“It’s becoming more and more important to get out and raise money,” Kathy said. “Families need services.”

Jesse said, “It’s important to help raise money for people on the spectrum, so they can receive more services and benefits. I feel proud of joining the Run/Walk.”

Besides supporting the cause, the family enjoys the event. Jesse has fun seeing people he knows from ASNC as well as participants from other years. “It’s a real joyous sense of community. He loves it!” Kathy said.

Educating the community about autism is another important part of ASNC’s eight Run/Walks for Autism across the state. ASNC believes that individuals with autism deserve meaningful lives as contributing members of the communities in which they live. People with autism have much to teach us, and they have unique gifts that can make our communities a better place to live for all of us.

Kathy and Jesse have done their part in raising autism awareness. When they lived in Seattle, Jesse’s middle-school psychologist taught a course on inclusion for regular education teachers at Western Washington University. Kathy and Jesse did a series of presentations each semester on supporting students with autism through the years. “Jesse really enjoyed doing these presentations and was very articulate in his speaking and in answering questions,” his mom said.

“Individuals with autism also make great employees,” Kathy said, “and employers should consider hiring more of them. “

Jesse, who hopes to find employment again soon, says that he appreciates it when people have high expectations of him. Parents of young children with autism should “teach them how to be more independent as they get older,” he said.

Thanks to Jesse, his family, and hundreds of others participating in the WNC Run/Walk for Autism, ASNC will be there for parents as they do just that.


Step out to improve lives in the 11th annual WNC Run/Walk for Autism at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11! The event at UNC-Asheville will include a 5K race, a recreational 1K run/walk, activities for children, music, and refreshments. Vendor space will showcase local businesses, service providers, support resources, and sponsors. Proceeds will fund local programs of the Autism Society of North Carolina.

Register today: http://www.wncrunwalkforautism.com


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