A Colour Run in Support of Children with AutismIssue date：2019-04-19
On March 22, a year after UWC Changshu China’s first annual Color Run in support of a charity fund in Kunming to help children infected with HIV, students of UWC Changshu China organized a second Color Run to raise awareness and understanding of children with autism. This year, more than 400 students, faculty, administrative staff and school leadership members, including Principal Pelham Lindfield Roberts, participated in the event. The Color Run was also mission driven. Twenty local children with autism and their families and other members of the Suzhou Autism Research Society joined the colorful run.
The UWC Changshu China community actively works to build positive relationships with local communities. Students are encouraged to organize and engage in service projects which support local communities in need.
This year we aimed to make a bigger impact. We not only raised money for autistic kids, but also brought participants from outside campus and increased the participation from members of our own community.
Thanks to the Suzhou Autism Research Society, the event received wide spread attention in social media. We hope and believe our efforts had a positive impact in the lives of children with autism and their families. We were honored to welcome everyone to our campus to experience the wonderful colorful event and the great diversity of UWC. We are grateful that members of the UWC community also had a chance to meet and learn from the local community as well.
Before the start of Color Run, we invited experts from the Suzhou Autism Research Society to come to our school to give speeches to all the volunteers and students to explain some fundamentals of autism. Thanks in part to the Suzhou Autism Research Society’s heartfelt speeches, over 400 runners and many volunteers from our community joined in the awareness effort. Participants celebrated by holding hands with autistic children. The event ended with happiness and colorful memories. What’s more, through personal contact, our students gained a deeper understanding of what autism is, and many of them even have established valuable friendships with the kids.
We hoped to create a pleasant and relaxing activity through color with the aim to share and celebrate the diversity of our community with the children. At the same time, we also wanted to encourage people to exercise more, thereby creating a healthier campus.
Many of the student volunteers expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to get to know the kids. They reflected that initially the kids were not looking at them or paying any attention to them, but once they started running, they enjoyed it so much that they held hands and laughed with the volunteers.
The families of the autistic kids thanked the orgnizers for inviting them to the event and giving them the chance to join the colorful celebration. One parent said that:
"UWC students were very caring. We want to thank everyone who made this wonderful event possible."
This year’s color run gave our UWC Changshu China community the chance to get to know autistic kids, to understand and appreciate differences through interactions and exchanges, and to realize the relevance of autism in the world around us.
The Color Run brought the UWC Changshu China community and autistic children together. It also showcases some of the core values of UWC: diversity and understanding. Just as the different colors coated every one's clothes on that day, the joy of the color run and its significance have gone beyond the differences in background, race, culture and age. Moreover, this activity showed us meaningful and positive ways that we can engage with the local community and give back.
Organisers of Color Run
Iwani from Botswana, a volunteer in the color run hopes that “Kids with autism will be able to run with joy and hope, remember the happy memories of the day. Those kids need our love and care, no matter in China or any other parts of the world.”
Author: Jerry Jiang, Sofia Ouyang, DP1
Translation: Susan Wang, Vivian Ye, FP
Editor: Elaine Xia, DP1, Polly Genova
Photo: Zackery Yao, DP1, Lennox Cao, FP