Elementary School Principal Demonstrates Incredible Act of Inclusion By Pushing a Student With Autism in 5K Race
Lifestyle| | By Margo Gothelf
An elementary school principal from New Jersey is going above and beyond to teach inclusion in and out of the classroom. When Vincent Myers, a dedicated runner, was contacted by Ainsley’s Angels to participate in a 5K, he didn’t think twice about his answer. Ainsley’s Angels helps to include kids of all abilities in races, and Myers knew exactly who he wanted his partner to be. The principal immediately thought of Andrew Sylvester, a 10-year-old student at his school with autism. “We were really grateful that he took the opportunity to think of Andrew,” PJ Sylvester, Andrew’s dad, told Inside Edition. “He and the staff have always been really supportive of Andrew and his inclusion in his class.” Myers’ suggestion to run the race came at just the right time, as the family was on the lookout for events that Andrew and his twin brother, Austin, could do together. Several of the twin’s friends joined in on the race as well. “It made Andrew feel great that he was a part of it. There was a lot of preparation around it and getting Andrew at a comfort level to participate,” PJ Sylvester told Inside Edition. “He was great that day. It was really significant to him. He cheered. We all cheered.” The main goal of Ainsley’s Angels is to “build awareness about America’s special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life, by promoting awareness, providing education, and participating as active members in local communities.” As an avid runner, Myers has participated in many races, however this 5K stands out with a special sense of pride. “I have run many races over the past five years, including triathlons and a marathon. I live with Type 1 Diabetes so this has been a journey for sure. This race gave me more pride than any of my individual accomplishments,” Myers said to Inside Edition. For Myers, the reaction to the 5K has been amazing and it will be something that he will never forget. “I am overwhelmed by all of the love and support for Andrew, Austin, and the entire Sylvester family,” Vincent Myers wrote to Your Daily Dish. “Through Ainsley’s Angels we are showing the world that #inclusionwins.” He continued, “I was in tears at the end of the race. When I saw some of the finish line photos of Andrew smiling ear to ear, I knew then that the inclusion of all individuals were the big winners of the 5K.” Learn more about Ainsley’s Angels on their website and Facebook page.
(H/T Inside Edition)
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