We have asked a handful of powerful Alaskans to stand as our 10th Annual Alaska 5K for Autism Official Ambassadors for our event and mission. We believe these people have influence in the community and commitment to the cause to motivate more Alaskans to attend the Alaska 5K for Autism to increase our awareness and fundraising goals.
Paige Talvi is a dynamic volunteer for ASA who works with the 'D' Detachment for the Alaska State Troopers.
She began working with us back in 2017 when the Alaska State Troopers started their partnership with the safety program known as Project Lifesaver. However this was not the first time Paige had worked with an Autism Society Affiliate. The Autism Society of Hawaii has made a lasting impact on Paige and her journey, and she is now raising funds for the Alaska Affiliate.
"Your donation will help families like mine and a person like my son, Bjorn.
Early in our journey to ensure Bjorn had the resources he needed to learn, I was crumpled on the floor crying in frustration not knowing how to navigate the public school system and specifically, the special education world. I realized then that I must be Bjorn's best advocate. There wasn't somebody that could do it better than me. I just needed to know more so I could help Bjorn. It was a mother and parent advocate from The Autism Society of Hawaii that helped me when our family struggled with how to best support our son. Naomi gave me the information, the words and the resources to participate fully in the design of Bjorn's educational plan. Naomi was my teacher, resource librarian and counselor. Naomi coached me through the frustration and despair, and celebrated with me when we succeeded. She understood special education law, she knew the challenges of parenting a child with Autism and she always answered her phone! Our experience was not unique and it has not been easy, but with the help of the Autism Society we had hope, we had someone to talk to that understood and we had access to resources," shared Paige Talvi.
Amanda Lash works for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, as the Lead Travel Coordinator & Fiscal Technician for the College of Rural & Community Development.
Amanda Lash first partnered with the Autism Society of Alaska during our first Alaska Conference in 2016 and has since volunteered during various events including acting as our 5K Race Director last year. She is a powerful addition to our team, and we have been grateful for her expertise and dedicated time. Her community philosophy is energetic and can be represented in her team name: Limitless!
"I walk to raise awareness and to support those who experience or are impacted by Autism. I also walk to create a culture of acceptance and understanding," shared Amanda
Pictured: Her son Kori recording 2017 5k radio commercial
Helen Renfrew is the Director of Meetings and Conventions at Explore Fairbanks and is well known in the Golden Heart Community. We have worked with Explore Fairbanks for our Conferences, and we have enjoyed connecting with Helen during this partnership. She is a dynamic and powerful person who enjoys connecting people in her community, and we are lucky to welcome her as an ambassador to our organization and the 5k event.
"As many of you know, my grandson Mason is on the Autism Spectrum. He's a happy (usually), loving boy of 10 with amazing recall, fantastic drawing skills, and the ability to build with and balance blocks, magnets and other household items. He's drawn to music and the end credits of movies. Mason has no sense of fear and a very high pain tolerance, which is cause for worry by the adults in his world. His use of verbal communication is growing, thanks to the early intervention and program supports that have been in place since his diagnosis at 3. Supporting the Autism Society of Alaska and research into the condition is near and dear to my heart. I invite you to participate by walking with me on June 2 and/or donating to my team,” shared Helen.