By Joe Maniscalco
A kick off event for Autism Speaks’ Fourth Annual New York City Walk Now for Autism will be held April 5 from 12-2 p.m. at the Staten Island Children’s Museum, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Staten Island. All those interested in learning more about the walk are invited. The kick off is a free, informative event for those interested in learning about and supporting Autism Speaks and the NYC Walk Now for Autism event. All team captains are encouraged to attend. This is an exciting event that is sure to motivate and help build a successful walk team. You will receive all the materials necessary for building a team and raising funds for autism research at the event. Thousands of walkers — including individuals with autism, their families and friends — are expected to gather on June 22 at South Street Seaport in New York City to raise much-needed funds for critical scientific research and to increase awareness about a growing health crisis, which now affects one in every 150 children at City. All proceeds from the event benefit Autism Speaks, the nation’s leading autism advocacy organization. Last year’s event raised more than $1 million with 7,000 participants and more than 400 teams. This year’s goal is to break $1.2 million. Walk Now for Autism is a unique fundraising event which creates a safe and fun day for families who are affected with autism. The day includes a two- to three-mile walk and Community Resource Fair with educational sources, therapists, schools, recreational organizations, and creative child-friendly activities; a true “one-stop-shop” for families affected by autism. Toys “R” Us, Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund, Parade Magazine and Chevrolet proudly serve as national sponsors of the Autism Speaks Walk Now for Autism program. Autism is a complex brain disorder that inhibits a person’s ability to communicate and develop social relationships, and is often accompanied by extreme behavioral challenges. Another child is diagnosed every 20 minutes. For more, go to www.walknowforautism.org/newyorkcity. The year is still fresh en ough to think about resolutions. Those of us who hang out at the Consumer Corner always seem to have the same one: save as much money as possible. That’s why we like to snoop around this special borough of ours looking for bargains. Check out what we found this week. ***** This first item is for you if you’re 55 or over. The Seniors in Shape program at Aviator Sports & Recreation Center is free on March 13. From 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Aviator’s exciting sports facilities will be dedicated to older adults and their fitness goals. Enjoy Tai Chi, weight training, slimnastics and a whole lot more. Talk to representatives from health care and financial agencies and get answers to questions regarding senior issues. To find out more call 718-758-9800 or visit www.aviator.com. ***** Yeah, you could show somebody you care with flowers. Floral gifts never go out of style. But what if you want to be a little different? Maybe you don’t want to buy a bouquet of flowers like everybody else? Have you ever thought about balloons? Well, few greetings have the power to kick up the fun quotient like a bushel of festive balloons. Unique Balloons, located at 6603 11th Avenue, is your one-stop station for all things balloon related. “We deliver smiles,” the friendly folks at Unique Balloons like to say. They’ll custom design balloons for any occasion. Give ‘em a call at 718-331-9005 to find out more. Unique Balloons specialize in bridal showers, weddings, sweet 16, house parties and more. Check out their vast selection at www.uniqueballoons.com.