It’s four in the morning, long before most people are willing to roll out of bed. Dark and very quiet. And Brandon, a young man with autism who loves running, is beaming with happiness and excitement. Because it’s the day of Brandon’s Run, a 5K put together by Brandon, NDFYA, and the Greater Fort Lauderdale Road Runners Club (GFLRRC).
The Birth of a 5K
As a student at NDFYA, Brandon needed to work on his discipline and learn skills he could later apply to a job. Motivation and engagement in work are often difficult for students, so applying passion to these skills is integral to learning them.
For Brandon, that passion is running. Which resulted in the idea of helping Brandon organize a road race. The skills he developed while putting together the race led to Brandon earning two paying jobs after his time as a NDFYA student.
“It's amazing to help someone make a dream come true,” says Erica Rubin, executive director of the International Society for Autism (ISA). “I just am so inspired and thankful and really living my passion: helping people with disabilities live their dreams.”
Paying it Forward
Brandon’s Run doesn’t just benefit Brandon’s future. The money collected from the run provides vocational services for 10 ISA clients. These services include:
- Vocational coaching
- Weekly stipends
Other NDFYA students are also able to learn valuable skills for the future by volunteering during the planning process and the run itself.
Raising Autism Awareness
Brandon is the chosen representative for the GFLRRC this year. He’ll be running in all of their sponsored runs for free, which gives him plenty of time to show the public what autism really looks like. And as the run grows, earning more sponsors and more runners, even more people will be exposed to the cause.
Participate in 2017
The fourth annual Brandon’s Run for Autism will be held January 7, 2017 at Quiet Waters Park in Deerfield Beach, FL. Click here to register.