FORT LEE, Va. - Fort Lee Child and Youth Services hosted its second-annual 5k Color Run for Autism Awareness and Month of the Military Child Celebration here April 22, 2023, featuring colored powder that event volunteers and over 200 runners threw into the air and at one another.
“As we continue to celebrate in the month of April, the Month of the Military Child, our theme this year is ‘military children: honoring the past, treasuring the present and shaping the future,’” said CYS Administrator Tonjia McCollum. “To all of our military kids, who are so resilient, we thank them every single day, and we love caring for them.”
Kenner Army Health Clinic, Fort Lee’s Army Community Service, the Suicide Prevention Team and Better Opportunities for Single Soldiers partnered with CYS for the event, taking advantage of the chance to distribute wellness information and share details about their programs and learning opportunities.
April is designated as the Month of the Military Child, underscoring the important role military children play in the armed forces community. Sponsored by the Department of Defense Military Community and Family Policy, the Month of the Military Child is a time to applaud military families and their children for the daily sacrifices and the challenges they overcome.
“This is in honor of the Month of the Military Child, to celebrate resilience, promote awareness, increase understanding and inclusion, and show support,” said Col. James D. Hoyman, Fort Lee garrison commander. “We have the best B.O.S.S. team in the entire Army.”
Hoyman thanked the crowd for coming out and supporting the community.
“It’s great to be out together and celebrating together,” Hoyman said.
Organizers played the ‘Baby Shark’ song just prior to the run with choreographed dance moves and emphasized that fun was also a major objective for the event.
Hoyman and Fort Lee Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Tamisha Love ran the race and high-fived runners as they neared the finish line to help create a fun environment.
The Fort Lee community coming together for a good cause like autism awareness illustrates its support for those in the community with autism.
The Organization for Autism Research reports that more than 13,000 military dependents, the majority of them children, have some form of autism.