When they’re not playing with their toys, having fun in school or learning to dance, you might find 5-year-old sisters Ava and Gianna Sabatino taking long walks.
“We won the race!” an excited Ava said after walking a mile in about 23 minutes.
The Howland girls may have won, but many parents who have children with special needs feel their youngsters are on a winning track, thanks to services they receive from Easter Seals.
It was in that spirit that an estimated 200 children and adults took part in Easter Seals’ ninth annual 5-Kilometer Walk & Run to Make the First Five Count fundraiser Saturday in Boardman Park.
The goal was to raise $20,000, all of which is to fund the agency’s programs, services and early-intervention efforts, noted Jodi Harmon, development and public-relations director.
Within the next 15 years, close to 50 percent of Americans could be living with a disability, a dramatic increase from the current 20 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
In 2012, the local Easter Seals served more than 5,000 adults and children in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.
For more on the event and Easter Seals, read Sunday's Vindicator or Vindy.com.