Everyone knows that I am a sucker for any charity that helps kids with special needs. Having gone through the system as many families have, I always try to help when one of these institutions is trying to raise funds to do their valiant work.

There are countless angels who have worked in special needs schools to whom I owe much gratitude and appreciation. It sounds like a cliché but it’s true: It takes a very special person.

One such person is an exceptional member of the staff of an exceptional institution. Her name is Rebecca Caughron. So it is on behalf of and in honor of Rebecca and the others who help children with special needs that I tell you about an event to benefit Princeton Child development institute.

Princeton Child Development Institute was founded in 1970 by Peggy W. Pulleyn and Pamela Machold, grandmother and mother of a young boy with autism, when they were unable to locate appropriate, non-institutional services in New Jersey. PCDI was the first community-based program in the State that was specifically designed to provide intervention for children with autism. Over the years, PCDI has grown to meet the needs of the autism population and their families; our programs now include early intervention, a preschool, a K-12 school, an adult life skills program, group homes, and supervised apartments.

This Saturday, the Princeton Child Development Institute is hosting the Meadows Miler, a 10K/5K trail run and 1-mile family fun run, in picturesque Rosedale Park on the Lawrenceville-Hopewell Trail in Pennington, to benefit programs and services for children and adults with autism. The Lawrenceville-Hopewell Trail is absolutely beautiful in autumn!

The event itself is intended to be a fun morning for families, dedicated runners, and walkers alike which draws attention to PCDI’s autism services. After the race, prizes will be awarded; food and drinks will be available; a bounce house, face painters, and a DJ will entertain; and a winner’s choice raffle — in which people can choose between a trip to Cabo, golfing in Pebble Beach, and a family Broadway trip including dinner with cast members — will be pulled. It's open to everyone.

What a wonderful way to support such a wonderful institution... and it’s gonna be a blast!

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