Arizona Cardinals team up with students for autism awareness

Cardinals quarterback, Drew Stanton, shares a conversation with one of the kids at Tempe High School (Photo by Amanda Kukkola/Cronkite News)

Cardinals players participate in a 3-legged race at the S.H.A.D.E.S event with some of the kids at Tempe High School (Photo by Amanda Kukkola/Cronkite News)

Big Red hangs out with some of the kids at the S.H.A.D.E.S. event held at Tempe High School (Photo by Amanda Kukkola/Cronkite News)

Drew Stanton and Big Red pose for a photograph with some of the children at Tempe High School (Photo by Amanda Kukkola/Cronkite News)

TEMPE- Arizona Cardinal quarterback Drew Stanton and mascot Big Red helped students at Tempe High School mark Autism Awareness Week.

Events were put on by Students Helping Access Doors Educationally and Socially, known as S.H.A.D.E.S. at the high school. The club helps students diagnosed with autism or other social needs by helping them develop skills and create life long friendships.

Monday, March 28 through Friday, April 1 is International Autism Awareness Week. S.H.A.D.E.S. activities for the week include photos with friends, design your own friendship bracelets, hula-hoop contests and some field events, with Stanton and Big Red.

“Getting a chance to come out here and spend some time with some kids at Tempe High School has been awesome,” Stanton said. “I did it last year and I had a lot of fun doing it so it’s good to come back and see some familiar faces, some new faces and interact with them and having Big Red is always a good time as well.”

The favorite activity of the day included a three-legged race. Stanton mentioned that the students loved it so much last year that they wanted to do it for a second time.

“I didn’t have as much success as I did last year unfortunately. Big Red’s really good so if you ever need a third legged race partner, Big Red’s your guy not me,” Stanton admitted.

To conclude the day, a question and answer session was held as well as autograph signings. Stanton emphasized the mission for Autism Awareness Week.

“I think it’s vital to get out here and be around kids,” Stanton said. “The whole reason for this week is to raise awareness about autism and growing up around some kids that had autism and, trying to be as inclusive as we can. I think it’s important.”

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