The annual walk is the culmination of events for the center.
April is Autism Awareness Month, and Texas Tech University's Burkhart Center for Autism Education & Research is celebrating with a number of fundraisers and community events.
Three local restaurants are donating a portion of their proceeds to the Burkhart Center. Papa John's will sponsor a day on April 14, Capital Pizza will sponsor from 6-10 p.m. April 21, and the Chick-fil-A in the South Plains Mall will sponsor April 23. Also on April 23, Burkhart's Transition Academy students will host a fashion show at 7 p.m. outside the Women's Dillard's in the South Plains Mall.
The annual Burkhart Walk for Autism Awareness will take place from 2-4 p.m. April 26 at the John Walker Soccer Complex at 10th Street and Texas Tech Parkway.
“Autism Awareness Month is a meaningful time for the Burkhart Center, not only because of its celebration of people living with or affected by autism, but also the supplementation of our yearly programming with both special events and increased community involvement,” Transition Academy teacher Tawny Mills said.
The Burkhart Center, which celebrated its first year in a new building in November, cut the ribbon earlier this year for a new Quiznos restaurant staffed by students of the Transition Academy. The academy, which is the center's flagship program, has about a dozen area students learning life and job skills.
Our intent is not only to assist people with autism through transition instruction and research to become more independent and assimilate into the community, but also to better shape and mold the community's attitude toward autism in order to bolster understanding and acceptance of people on the autism spectrum,” Mills said. “It often goes unnoticed that people with autism can be talented and friendly. Increased awareness means greater acceptance, and reciprocal acceptance of people on the spectrum is truly a mark of success.