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Spring Into Family Volunteering!

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This weekend offers Angelenos two fun and meaningful opportunities for benefit walks and family volunteering. Learn about two organizations profiled here by LA students participating in YouthGive who are "mapping the good" around LA.

Walk Now for Autism Speaks
Saturday April 24
Pasadena Rose Bowl

Autism Speaks is an organization working to fund research to find the cause or a cure for autism, and is determined to spread awareness of the disease and gain financial support in order to fund their ongoing research. Autism Speaks' Walk Now for Autism, the nation's largest grassroots autism walk program, is their signature fundraising and awareness event, which takes place in communities across the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada.

At last year's Pasadena walk, Julia Reading and Molly Hogin were the co-captains of the Archer School for Girls team. "When we first volunteered at the Children's Hospital, we admittedly had little idea about what Autism actually is, but being around so many affected parents made me realize that that this is a pressing issue in the medical community that has been neglected for too long," says Hogin.

Autism Speaks is dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism. They also raise public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society, and bring hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder.

Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen to the concerns and take action to address this urgent global health crisis. It is Autism Speaks' firm belief that, working together, we will find the missing pieces of the puzzle.

By Ally Maize and Andrea Stern, 12th grade, Archer School for Girls

Richstone Pier-to-Pier Walk
Saturday April 24
Manhattan Beach Pier

Child abuse affects more than one million children every year. Thankfully, there are organizations, like the Richstone Family Center, which help not only children, but parents and teenagers living in abusive households.

Richstone was established in 1974 and is located in Hawthorne, CA, although it also has five other sites. Richstone has thirteen distinct programs which include, among others, a Transitional Living Program for young women leaving foster care, a Family Support Program and an after-school program to help foster a nurturing learning environment for children in first through eighth grade.

Volunteering at Richstone is easy, and you can make a difference by doing simple things such as reading to a child, tutoring a child or even just playing sports with one!

Each year Richstone also holds a major fundraising event called the Richstone Pier to Pier Walk. Participants can sign up through the Richstone website and proceed to help the organization by getting a big group together and collecting donations. The walk is always very fun and widely attended. It's a great way for teenagers and schools to get involved!

By Jenna Tokashiki, Vistamar School

Richstone Family Center Video.