At Case Western Reserve University Step Ahead Chapter "Sparties Running Team"- An athlete crosses the finish line at the end of season race

Annie Marggraff – Step Ahead

Date grant awarded: November 23, 2019

Being on a sports team is a positive experience that shapes many young lives, providing friendships, confidence, and life skills. For most children with autism, however, the overwhelming environment and intensity of athletic practices create barriers to participation.

Step Ahead resolves these issues, offering free, weekly running teams built specifically with autism in mind. Children are paired one-on-one with a coach, a college student-athlete, who encourages and guides their athlete throughout each practice season. When I began running at age 10, the sport quickly became my passion and my identity. For so many children with autism, their identity centers around their disability.

Our goal is to help these kids explore their talents, on and off the track, becoming more confident and independent. It’s so much more than just running!