By BOB COUPLAND
HOWLAND - Despite heavy rain, Howland High School National Honor Society students and other students, community members and parents walked the one-mile perimeter of Howland Township Park to raise more than $1,000 for the Rich Center for Autism.
In addition, Covelli Enterprises presented a $12,000 check after seven local Panera Bread locations sold cookies during the month of April with all proceeds going to autism awareness.
Kelsi March, co-coordinator of the "Pound the Pavement for Autism" walk, said this was the first walk at the park, with more than 130 people participating. Her co-coordinators were Taylor Ginnis, Michael Pollifrone and Kalliopi Georgalos.
"It's a great satisfaction knowing that you're raising money for a great cause," March said.
She said that she has a cousin who attends the Rich Center.
During the walk, a basket and 50-50 raffles were held to raise additional money. Members of the Howland community also helped sell cookies.
Leah Wilson, event coordinator with the Rich Center for Autism, said the center was grateful.
"This came from a group of young people who saw the importance of holding this and bringing awareness to autism. We are very happy to have a partnership like this and so many young people being involved," Wilson said.
The donation will offset the cost of $35,000 per student at the center and be used for scholarships to help families who children attend the center, she said.