Walk With Me Redbirds

To celebrate its champions, Easterseals is hosting their Walk With Me event, a day all about the children.

Easterseals provides services to children with developmental delays and disabilities to help them achieve their full potential. Its champions are children that are receiving services at Easterseals Central Illinois.

The walk is 9 a.m. Saturday at Hancock Stadium. Registration will open at 8:30 a.m. and is $25 for anyone over the age of 13 and free for children 12 and younger.

With registering, participants will also receive a t-shirt while supplies last. Those interested in registering ahead of time can visit www.walkwithme.org/Bloomington 

“The event celebrates progress that [the champions have] made and the milestones they have achieved throughout the last year,” Vice President of Development Cathy Oloffson said.

The opening ceremony will celebrate each of the 15 champions and their teams. The teams will then go out and circle the football field. Teams will stay on the field to cheer on the other teams.

Following the walk, participants can enjoy some family fun at the Hancock Stadium Concourse. There will be bounce houses, games and food provided from Avanti’s.

“[Walk With Me] is a very inclusive environment,” Oloffson said. “The event is all about the champions and all of the people who are there are celebrating them and the progress they have made.”

Easterseals also has a long-standing partnership with Illinois State University athletics. Student athletes volunteer for the event and are paired with the kids.

This gives the champions an opportunity to walk around the football field and hang out with these athletes.

“[This walk] is almost like a dream come true for some of our kids, especially those who have a physical disability to be able to walk the field and be accompanied by an ISU student athlete,” Oloffson said. “For those who are living with autism, to come socialize with a large group of people is a great accomplishment as well.”

Easterseals is also celebrating its 100th anniversary. The group works with families and sets goals for each child to help them make progress and reach milestones.

“For the family and the children participating, the event gives them a celebration and helps them realize that sense of accomplishment for all of their hard work that has gone on,” Oloffson said. “It really provides a way for our Easterseals champions and their families to celebrate the hard work they have put in over the past year.”

ANDREA RICKER is Features Editor The Vidette. She can be contacted at arricke@ilstu.edu. Follow her on Twitter at @ricker_andrea

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