Times staff report
Jory’s Journey Foundation will hold its inaugural Team Jory Walk for Autism from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 14, at Railroad Park in downtown Birmingham.
The theme of the event is “Walking for Possibilities and Resources.”
“This is the first-ever Autism Awareness Walk in the City of Birmingham that focuses on the underserved families in Birmingham who are impacted by autism,” said Arlicia Sims, co-founder and program director of Jory’s Journey Foundation. “Early diagnosis and consistent, proactive therapies can ensure that each child has the opportunity to reach his or her full potential.”
Jory’s Journey Foundation co-founder Jarrod Sims said events like the planned walk can help remove social stigma related to autism.
“Coming out together makes it less uncomfortable to talk about,” he said. “It will allow families to realize that Autism is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s a developmental disorder, which with consistent adequate services and therapy can allow the child to live a healthy and a more productive life.”
Jarrod Sims, president of Syms Contractors, said they named their autism support organization for their youngest son and his sister Journey Sims.
But the name has an obvious meaning.
“It is a journey,” the father has said of life with autism. “This is true navigation. Our efforts are to help folks navigate the autism life.
“This organization is making sure we bring resources back to the underserved community,” he continued. “We’re fortunate to have the ability to take care of Jory in that manner but I believe that all kids could do the same thing, make the jumps if they get access to the therapists.”
Jory’s Journey is a non-profit organization whose mission is to educate, empower and inspire underserved families impacted by autism. The goal of the organization is to increase autism awareness in the African American community. It is committed to promoting and to helping ensure families understand the importance of early diagnosis and early intervention. Autism affects children of every ethnic group and socio-economic status.
However, African American children are often misdiagnosed or diagnosed much later than others and lack access to much-needed resources to effectively combat the many challenges of this developmental disorder. Jory’s Journey Foundation has a single focus on” Bridging the Gap” while ensuring many underserved families gain access to proactive therapies and services.