Although the walk is designed to give children with disabilities a time to enjoy others who share similarities, the community is encouraged to attend. The walk is also about getting the community together without anyone feeling excluded. Whitehead said, “It’s a chance for the community to come out and interact with the families, because a lot of times the families do feel like they’ve been shunned to the side, looked past and not included.”
Whitehead is especially passionate about young children interacting with others with disabilities. She believes that if they are taught early, that it empowers children to want to help special needs people later in life. She said, “If you can change a heart at that young age, you can make a difference in their lives. To help them see this and help them interact, number one it takes away the fear factor. When you don’t know something you’re going to be afraid. Number two it empowers them in realizing that they can make a difference is somebody’s life.”
During the event, participants will walk a short distance around Heritage Park. To add a little fun in the mix, goodies such as face painting, carnival games and snow cones will be available. A door prize drawing will be held. Also, a free barbeque lunch and t-shirts will be given to every participant, all at no cost.
Through all of the fun and activities planned, Whitehead makes it known that one of the expected outcomes is to help make a difference in not only the lives of those with special needs, but the public’s outlook on those with special needs as well.
“What blessing that is,” she said. “To go through life being a person who is opinionated about something whether it be about ability, inability race or whatever, you can change their life in that one day.”
Over 1,000 people are expected to attend the event. Numerous businesses in the community are offering their services to help make the walk successful including the military community. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4008 will be providing the food for the event.
Registration will begin at 11 a.m. the day of the event. For more information on the walk or to donate call 939-0343.