by: Kathy Loy

The year 2008 may not be memorable for some people, but for Max Utter, a Junior at Del Norte High School, it was the year he saw the movie Pay It Forward. The movie is about a young boy who attempts to make the world a better place by repaying good deeds forward – to other people – instead of paying them back. Watching the movie changed Max’s life and, by his good deeds, the lives of many other children in the area.

Max has a brother with autism. “I started the Autism Walk four years ago when I was in 8th grade after I first saw the movie Pay It Forward. I wanted to help children with autism attend summer camp just like typical kids, because when I went to camp one summer, I realized people like my brother don’t have these same opportunities,” said Max. So far, through his charity, Max has raised enough money to send 30 kids to Camp I Can, a summer camp program run through the Autism Society of America.

The 4S Autism Walk this year will be on Sunday, May 20 at 11:00 a.m. starting at the Boys and Girls Club in 4S Ranch. Of the event, Max said, “The walk is ½ of a mile on a sidewalk so that all people – disabled or not – can participate. It is open to anyone. The more people we get, the more money we raise for these kids.” Registration is not required, however RSVP can be made on Max’s Facebook page “4S Ranch Autism Walk.” The donation is $10 per family.

Besides the feeling of donating money and time to a worthy cause, walkers can accumulate community service hours. The Autism Society will also have a link on their website so that donations can be made by people who choose not to walk. From our community, Max would greatly appreciate a company willing to make signs to help bring attention to the event.


For more details or to RSVP, visit “4S Ranch Autism Walk” on Facebook or to make a donation.