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Fourth Annual Autism Walk Raises Proceeds Toward PV/Bergen ABA Program


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Raima Islam '21 & Grace Rose '19
18 April 2019

Ms. Amy Pellegrini and Dr. JoAnn Cardillo at the Autism Walk; photo courtesy of Ms. Janet Russo On Sunday April 14th, PV held its fourth annual Autism Walk at the track. Around six hundred students, staff, friends, and family members came to support the PV/Bergen ABA Program and over nine thousand dollars were donated. The energy of the event was truly one of a kind as the community came together to support our students with autism.

April is National Autism Awareness Month and the Autism Walk is at the center of the month’s activities. Superintendent Dr. JoAnn Cardillo wanted to do something special for the cause four years ago, and along with Mrs. Amy Pellegrini’s guidance and coordination, decided on a walk where 100% of the proceeds went directly to programs for autistic students. Through Pellegrini’s tireless work and aid from members of the PV Community, such as Ms. Abbie Rodgers and Ms. Jackie Dubil, the Autism Walk quickly garnered incredible support.Autism Walk attendees; photo credit:  Rae Allex

The weather was beautiful on Sunday and upbeat music filled the atmosphere as the PV Community walked for a deserving cause. Complimentary water bottles were handed out as it got hotter during the day. Participants took group photos together and the smiles were endless.

Pellegrini is still tallying the donations from teams and local businesses, and an estimated nine thousand dollars will be donated to the PV/Bergen ABA Program. Not all donations were made from people who attended the event; generous amounts were made from different companies and from those who could not attend.Track full of walkers at the Autism Walk; photo credit:  Rae Allex

The walk itself began at approximately 9 AM and lasted until 12 PM. Participants displayed their support of by wearing blue — the color recognized for raising Autism Awareness. Some students even made shirts in support of their friends with autism. Mrs. Pellegrini's son, Zach, who is a student with the ABA Program, had his own support network at the walk who wore “Team Zach” t-shirts.

Sophomore Joseph Janssen attended the Walk with his brother Jaime, who wore a “Jaime’s Squad” shirt. Joe expressed his immense support for his brother and explained how excited he is for him to join the PV Community. “Jaime’s an awesome kid and he’ll be a great addition to PV’s student body. He’s really looking forward to it, always telling me about how he wants to be part of the ‘Big Hornets’ instead of the ‘Jr. Hornets,’” stated Janssen. “I’m blessed that I get to be a part of his process and our family is more than glad that he’ll be attending PV.”Joseph Janssen '21, Jaime Janssen, and Andrija Gavrilovic '21 at the Autism Walk; photo courtesy of Joseph Janssen '21

Those who attended the walk have displayed their tremendous satisfaction with the turnout. “It was rewarding to see how we all came together as a community to show our love and support to each and every individual!” stated Sarah Covello ‘19. “I loved being a part of such a great event and can’t wait for next year!”

Pellegrini continues to stress the importance of Autism Awareness and looks forward to future Autism Walks. “The Walk helps us to embrace others’ differences and have a stronger understanding and awareness of what autism is,” emphasized Pellegrini. “It teaches our students patience and respect of autistic students.”