Olivet College welcomed almost 400 people for its inaugural Walk for Autism Awareness in early April.
The walk which exceeded its goal to raise $5,000 for Hope Network was organized and hosted by sophomore Crystal Lettinga.
“My twin sister, Coral, has autism. After my father passed away when I was 12, my family had to make a lot of changes,” Lettinga said. “Growing up with a sibling that has a disability is not easy, and I want others on this journey to find love and support.”
Lettinga is helping to make the event an annual tradition at Olivet after the success of the first walk. Her ultimate goal is get other college campuses involved by hosting similar events all over the state.
“Everyone coming together is a force to get the word out there. Autism isn’t talked about enough,” Lettinga said. “Autism is a lasting issue with a stronghold on society and that’s not going away.”