Annual Walk for Autism


    SAVE THE DATE | 2020 Walk for Autism
    Saturday, April 25, 2020
    NEW VENUE:  Lake Erie Speedway

    We are excited to announce the 2020 Walk for Autism will be moving!   Although we have enjoyed our time at Presque Isle State Park, the growth of our Walk requires more space.  In order to provide easy access to our participants, we are moving to a new venue.  With over 1,400 parking spaces, getting to the Walk will be a breeze!   Stay tuned for all the details as our Walk Committee works to improve and evolve the Annual Walk for Autism.

    Thank you for your contributions to the 18th Annual Walk for Autism!


    Evans | Heather, Bill, Brooke & Logan

    The Walk is our signature fundraising event which brings together thousands of participants and funds approximately 65% of our annual budget to maintain and increase direct supports to persons and families living with autism in Northwestern Pennsylvania.

    We were honored to partner with our 2019 Walk Chair Family, Bill and Heather Evans and their children Brooke and Logan.  The Evans family has been a part of the Autism Society NWPA for the past five (5) years.  The Evans family opened their hearts and shared their story with our local community.  Not only did Heather organize their team Everything is Awesome, she assisted with her school team Bison Strong. Heather was also the key organizer and leader of our first Walk Kick-off “Ducks 4 Buck$” held in February.  Thank you, Evans family, for all your support efforts and dedication to ensure a successful 2019 Walk for Autism.

    2019 brought a record-setting year for our pre-registration numbers.  We started the day with 1,801 registered walkers!   We completed the day with around 2,000 Walkers which was outstanding considering Mother Nature was not our friend on April 27th.  It was an overwhelming delight to see the abundance of walkers lined up for the Walk on the coldest windy day of April!  I’m proud to be a part of such an outstanding resilient community.  All of you are amazing!

    The Walk would not be possible without community support.  57 community members and businesses sponsored the 2019 Walk for Autism.  Our Diamond sponsor for the 2019 Walk was Connoisseur Media with Wm T. Spaeder and State Farm local agents as our Platinum Sponsors. All our sponsors are an important part of the success of our Annual Walk for Autism.  Please be sure to patronize our sponsors.  For a full listing visit

    Our 57 team captains of the 2019 Walk recruited over 1,240 walkers!  Due to the tremendous support of our team captains, sponsors, donors, and walkers, we raised over $102,000!  A huge shout out to our Team Captains for your continued efforts of organizing walkers, raising awareness, and hosting fundraisers throughout the year.  The Annual Walk for Autism is only as strong as the people involved!  We will continue to shout THANK YOU but it will never be enough to express our thanks to all our support.

    “No one who achieves success does so without the help of others.  The wise and confident acknowledge this help with gratitude.”     – Alfred North Whitehead

    Did you know it takes 8 Directors, 15 Team Leaders, 3 photographers and over 140 volunteers to plan, organize, and run the Annual Walk for Autism?   Our 2019 Walk Committee and Directors work for eight months sharing their expertise and resources to ensure the Walk is seamless for our participants.  Our tireless directors: Dave Bartlett, Jay Spaeder, Mike Eisert, Israel Wodarski, Jayson Spaeder, Kameron Landers, Richard Burmood, Anne Eisert, and team leaders:  Dave Steiner, Hope Martinson, Mary Spaeder, Karen Kaiser, Shanda Coleman, Dan Wirley, Jason Keim, Elysa Farrell, Ken Mueller, Doug Boucher, Bren Lindell, Jim Flynn, Jackie Lazeski, and Tammy Rohler (a.k.a. our emergency Jackie for the day).  A special thank you to our Friday set up crew who worked through the rain to prepare Beach 11 for our Walk: Dave Bartlett, Dave Steiner, Israel Wodarski, and John Fox.  We also have over 140 volunteers that arrived around 7:00 am on a cold windy wet Erie morning with a smile and helping hand to be ready for our walkers.  There are also the behind the scene office volunteers that share many hours helping prepare Walk registrations, merchandise, themed baskets, and packing/unpacking the truck.  I would love to name everyone but that will fill the entire newsletter.

    Thank you to our Board of Directors for all their support, guidance, and fundraising efforts.  We had 100% participation from board members either setting up a team, volunteering at the Walk, or donating towards Ducks 4 Buck$.   As the Executive Director of the Autism Society NWPA, I know we are blessed with some of the best board members in Erie!

    Thank you, again, for all your support.  Although we are overwhelmed by the support and record-setting pre-registration numbers, the weather did affect the overall Walk outcome.  Autism Society NWPA depends 100% on fundraising dollars to meet our mission goals and continue to support families in our local community. If you have a fundraising opportunity, please consider Autism Society NWPA as your charity of choice.

    Our committee has already started plans for the 19th Walk for Autism tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 25, 2020.  Everyone…be nice to Mother Nature so the beautiful April weather will join us in 2020.

    If you haven’t already, visit Facebook to view the official Walk photo provided by Carolyn and Ron Vollentine, Greg Coleman and John Fox.  Thank you, Carolyn, Ron, John, and Greg for sharing your day and talents with us!

    Sincerely, Tish Bartlett, Executive Director

    Thank you to all our sponsors of the 18th Annual Walk for Autism.  Please be sure to patronize all our amazing sponsors!

    Connoisseur Media | BOB-FM; JET 1400 Radio; 95.9 LITE FM

    Wm. T. Spaeder Company, Inc.          State Farm local agents          EMTA

    Jet Edge International                         Sportsmen's Athletic Club        Plymouth Tavern
    Port Erie Plastics                                 Team Marko                             Panera Bread
    Lakeshore Community Service            Jake's Jems                            Millennium Sounds
    LAMAR                                                Barber National Institute          Wal-Mart Foundation
    North Coast Sanitation Erie

    Amicangelo & Theisen, LLC                Beautiful Smiles                        Community Behavioral Health
    Custom Engineering                           Lake Erie Speedway                 The Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School
    Hagan Business Machines                  Lake Erie Tri-State Mopars        Pete's Pub
    Stewart Masonry                                 Superior Toyota                          Tim Hortons
    Allegheny Health Network

    Shoreline Construction                      Bates Collision, Inc.                     Achievement Center
    Baer Appraisal, LLC                          Contine Corporation                    City of Erie Employee Community Service Fund
    Donatos "Every piece counts"           Erie Animal Hospital                    Hilling Pfeffer Insurance
    Great Lakes Case & Cabinet            John V. Schultz                            Lake Erie Tri-State Mopars
    Marquette Savings Bank                   Northwest Savings Bank             Silk Screen Specialties Unlimited
    Small Business Alternative               Strategy Solutions                        Anne Saxer
    Utz Snacks                                       Schwebel's Bakery Co                  Niagara Therapy
    Vollentine, Ron & Carolyn                Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital of Erie

    Friends of Autism
    Dusckas Funeral Home, Inc              McGill, Power, Bell & Associates, LLP
    Jiffy Print Instant Printing                  Wegmans

    Congratulations to our Team Incentives & Team Captain Winners!

    Bison Strong | FLB School District ~ Most Funds Raised | School

    Team Awards ~ 2019

    Most Funds Raised:

    Family: Team Keagan "Never Look Back" with 45 walkers raising $5,143
    Company:  Theodore's Team with 35 walkers raising $9,880
    School:  Bison Strong - Fort LeBoeuf School District with 194 walkers raising $6,368

    Team Zucrew

    Unique Fundraiser: Team Zucrew; 18 walkers raising $1,419

    Star Team Award: Patrick's Posse; 37 walkers raising $2,655

    Team Incentives ~ 2019

    #1 ~ teams raised $1,500 or more in donations/walk registrations earned (2) 2019 Commemorative Walk hoodies | 12 teams earned sweatshirts!

    Bison Strong          Theodore's Team          Team Marko         Team Keagan
    Patrick's Pose        Everything Awesome    Team Neelym       Bartlett Turtle Crew
    Team Biggins         Logan's Heroes             Wes Walkers        Lakeshore Community Service

    #2 ~ For every $500 a team received in donations/walk registration, the team was entered into a drawing for Chris Stapleton concert tickets [donated by Connoisseur Media] and gift certificate to The Cork, Molly Brannigans, or Skunk & Goat [donated by Red Letter Hospitality]

    Winner:   Team Keagan "Never Look Back"

    #3 ~ Returning Teams:  team with the highest % increase in donations/walk registrations from 2018 to 2019 wins: Erie Otters tickets (4) [donated by Erie Otters] and BrewErie gift certificate [donated by BrewErie]

    Winner:  Mason's Voice with a 64% increase!

    Team Captain Awards: thank you to our Board of Directors for donating ALL the Ducks 4 Buck$ prizes and Team Captain Incentives!

    Prize # 1 ~1-year membership to Autism Society NWPA | Team Fairview
    Prize # 2 ~ $50 Wine & Spirits Gift Card | High Five for Autism
    Prize # 3 ~ $75 Giant Eagle GetGo Gift Card | Mason's Voice
    Prize # 4 ~ $100 Splash Lagoon & $35 Get Air Gift Card | Team Zucrew
    Prize # 5 ~ Apples Wireless Air Pods with Bluetooth | Team Marko
    Prize # 6 ~ Santana Concert Tickets | Bartlett Turtle Crew