Walk With Me 10th anniversary highlights

Each spring the community comes together to support Arizona’s youngest children with disabilities and their families at Southwest Human Development’s annual Walk With Me event. Event fundraising and participation helps to make a major impact in the community with the help of generous individuals and community partners. This year’s event was not short on extra surprises and special moments!

Walk With Me celebrates 10th anniversary

Walk With Me has grown considerably since its inauguration in 2009. The event began with an initial 330 participants and has grown to bring in approximately 700 participants annually. Over the years, the event has undergone many changes, evolving into today’s one-mile family fun walk and carnival. Classic carnival games like balloon pop, boat racing and more dominate the after-walk fun activities alongside inflatables, food and entertainment.

Howler takes the cake

The Arizona Coyotes Foundation is not only the presenting sponsor of this year’s Walk With Me, but they also sent out the team for support. Arizona Coyotes’ beloved mascot Howler joined Southwest Human Development and celebrated his 21st birthday during the morning festivities.

Howler was nearly cakeless after Southwest Human Development Chief Development Officer Jake Adams fumbled the cake, making a last-second save. The crowd gasped as the cake was fatefully caught mid-air. In the end, Howler enjoyed his birthday cake breakfast and the fun continued on.

14 Walk With Me ambassador families join in support

Walk With Me ambassadors are young children with disabilities whose families share their stories with the hopes of educating and inspiring others. Event ambassadors have received Easterseals Southwest Human Development disability services from the Children’s Developmental Center including feeding services, therapy and ADAPT Shop assistive technology.

This year, 14 enthusiastic ambassador families participated in Walk With Me to support their loved ones. The positive and uplifting energy spread through the event from start to finish. Many families customized their own team t-shirts and triumphantly crossed the finish line with beaming smiles.

American Furniture Warehouse donations make a difference

American Furniture Warehouse continuously supports Walk With Me and many other Southwest Human Development initiatives. This year, the organization helped lay the groundwork for Walk With Me success by furnishing the ambassador lounge, providing kid-friendly furniture for the family zone and brought plush tigers for event participants. Additionally, Home Furnishings Association donated $22,500 in honor of Jake Jabs at American Furniture Warehouse to support young children with disabilities in Arizona.

Clayton serenades the crowd, saves the day

When music generators died, Clayton didn’t think twice before breaking the silence with his heart-melting voice, leaving the crowd swooning. As any true star knows, the show must go on.

Clayton, an annual Walk With Me participant, is well-known for his killer moves on the dance floor. This year, he delivered on the secret talent he had been keeping in his back pocket all these years. The crowd went wild after his performance of Dove Cameron’s “Genie in a Bottle.” Clayton, we can’t wait to see your career in showbiz!

To learn more about Walk With Me or make a donation, visit swhd.org/walk.