SAUK RAPIDS -- Families gathered at the Sauk Rapids Municipal Park this evening (Tuesday) for the 2014 Buddy Walk and Roll and Arc Midstate Annual Picnic.

Arc Midstate Director Cindy Owen says the walk is designed as a fundraiser.

"While the walk is a fundraiser, it's also an awareness event to show the unique talents, gifts and needs of individuals with special needs," says Owen.

The walk has been going on for about 14 years.

It's designed to provide awareness and acceptance for individuals with developmental disabilities such as Autism, and Down syndrome.

"Often when a family has a child or family member with special needs it's something they weren't really planning on," says Owen.

Sponsors, along with the pledges the walkers collect, help Arc Midstate continue to support local programs.

"We use the money to help run parent support groups, trainings, to provide advocacy for families looking for help," says Owen.

However, the main goal is to provide a community with those walking the same path.


Walkers enjoy the evening weather at the 2014 Buddy Walk and Roll Annual Picnic. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON News)