Giant Steps 5K Walk Supports Autism Center at Rich Harvest Farms

Giant Steps 5K Walk Supports Autism Center at Rich Harvest Farms

Giant Steps and Rich Harvest Farms are making headlines with the announcement of plans to construct Canopy, a state-of-the-art living center for adults with autism.

Now the organizations are taking their first fundraising giant step in support of that project with the announcement of a Saturday, Oct. 3, 5K Walk for Autism sponsored by Navistar and hosted by Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL the future home of Canopy, Adult Autism Services at Giant Steps.

All are welcome to join in the free, family-friendly fun that will give walkers and runners a chance to see and stroll through the exclusive Rich Harvest Farms Golf Club in Sugar Grove.

While the event is free to participate, walkers and teams are encouraged to raise runds toward the 2015 goal of $200,000.

Participants will be able to check in starting at 8:30 a.m. with the welcome to kick off the day at 9:30 a.m. and 5K stroller and wheel-friendly walk to start at 10 a.m. Following the walk, walkers and their teams will enjoy a celebratory after-party with lunch served by Home Run Inn Pizza.

Families are encouraged to walk with their loved ones. Schools are invited to create a team or two. Corporations can make a team-bonding experience through fundraising and supporting the Walk.

Several corporate sponsors have stepped up to prime the pump. Navistar has pledged $25,000, Gerald Subaru and Wintrust Community Banks each donated $5,000, and Granite City Food & Brewery and Lisle Savings Bank each contributed $500. Lunch sponsor Home Run Inn Pizza donated $1,000 and an in-kind donation of lunch for the walkers.

Giant Steps Director of Development Katrina Meckes said Giant Steps’ therapeutic day school is located in Lisle, but the organization serves students with autism from more than 60 districts in Illinois.

“It’s heartwarming to know that our neighbors in Sugar Grove, the west suburbs, and all around the Chicagoland area support the great work that our staff and students are achieving together,” she said. “From where I sit, I see how much our staff members care for our students and the creativity that they use to make sure they are supporting each individual in and outside of the classroom. I appreciate the opportunity to bring awareness to the community about who we are and what we do at Giant Steps.”

CEO and President Bridget O’Connor said she’s thrilled to talk about the new Canopy project at Rich Harvest Farms. Giant Steps is currently operating an adult day program on the Rich Harvest Farms campus that engages young adults with autism in a variety of vocational and leisure opportunities.

“We are so grateful to Jerry Rich for opening his estate to the young adults with autism who have nowhere to go after aging out of school services at 22 years old,” she said. “Our long term goal is to build an intentional community on this unique estate with Mr. Rich having already donated the necessary land for the project. Families and the community should absolutely take this opportunity to visit the private family estate. We hope to see you all on Oct. 3”

Walkers can register and learn more about the event at or contact the Giant Steps Development Department by emailing or calling 630- 864-8304.

For information about Giant Steps visit

5kwalk at Rich Harvest

Giant Steps 5K Walk for Autism

  • Where: Rich Harvest Farms (7S771 Dugan Rd. Sugar Grove, IL 60554)
  • When: Saturday, October 3rd, 2015 9am-12pm
  • Schedule:
    • 8:30 AM – Registration Opens
    • 9:30 AM – Welcome
    • 10 AM – Walk Starts
    • 10:30 AM to noon – After Party and Lunch

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About Giant Steps

Since 1996, Giant Steps has been committed to providing individuals with autism spectrum disorders, and their families, superior educational and therapeutic services focused on improving the quality of daily life from early childhood through adulthood. Giant Steps is a designated therapeutic day school in the State of Illinois – licensed and certified to exclusively serve students with a primary diagnosis of autism. The organization seeks to improve a child’s ability to interact, communicate, and develop academic and daily living skills through one-on-one integrated approaches. To learn more, visit

About Canopy at Rich Harvest Farms

Giant Steps, in partnership with Rich Harvest Farms, is pleased to introduce Canopy; an integrated community model offering unique work, social, recreational and living opportunities to engage adults with autism throughout their lifetime. Canopy was created to meet the enormous needs of adults living with autism who were no longer able to receive the services of the school system. This day program offers therapeutic supports in addition to life skills activities, vocational readiness programs, leisure or recreational skill development, music therapy, media integration and movement based sessions for adults over the age of 22.

About Rich Harvest Farms

Consistently ranked in Golf Digest’s America’s 100 Greatest Golf Courses, Rich Harvest Farms is an ultra-private, members-only club located in Sugar Grove, Illinois. Owned and built by Jerry Rich, the course consists of 18 holes and is a 1,820-acre showcase of nature and agriculture. The course is proud to host the 2016 LPGA UL International Crown (July 19-24) and 2017 NCAA Division I Golf Championships (May 18-31). In the past, the property has played host to the 2009 LPGA Solheim Cup and 2015 Palmer Cup & Western Amateur as well as many other youth an amateur golf events. For more information visit and follow Rich Harvest Farms on Twitter – @RHFTournaments.

SOURCE: Giant Steps press release