A 2016 Corvette will soon be playing a starring role in promoting a better understanding of autism while creating even more memories for a Nebraska father and son.
Mike Straub and his 15-year-old son Adam will be traveling 10,000 miles in their Laguna Blue Z51 coupe through 48 states in 17 days, beginning at the end of this month.
They’ll be stopping for photos in each state to create more father-son memories, the way they have on numerous other trips in the past. But this time, they’re upping the ante by visiting all of the contiguous states on one journey for the first time.
The idea is to help Americans better understand autism and raise money for the non-profit Autism Action Partnership in Omaha.
“I feel like now is a good time to do something for the community. Adam’s leaned on different organizations over the years for help,” says Mike.
Adam was diagnosed at age 3 with Asperger’s Syndrome, a high functioning form of autism that affects his social skills.
“Every person is different in some way,” Adam says, noting that he feels different sometimes “…mainly because I don’t interact with a lot of people.”
He wants to be a friend to others, according to Mike, but doesn’t always fully grasp some of the intricate social skills required.
Their journey will begin on May 29 at Adam’s school, Millard West High, which has earned praise for organizing a Circle of Friends program through Autism Action Partnership.
Justin Dougherty, executive director of AAP, says the organization strives to create a community to embrace people on the spectrum. The Circle of Friends program, an inclusive program that teaches acceptance and friendship, reaches 3,000 children in 240 schools and also helps with relationship-building and job training and placement through a PACE adult work program.
Mike has used his Corvette for similar road trips with his other son, Eric, a 17-year-old who has visited 49 states and most of Canada in the front seat of his dad’s car.
The upcoming trip with Adam has been meticulously planned, including a big send-off from Millard West High School.
“I’m working with the principal and superintendent to get a couple hundred kids out there,” Mike says, “and I’m trying to get a couple dozen Corvettes to form a procession behind us as we leave. I’m working on a police escort.”
They’ll drive 7½ hours on the first day, going to Iowa and Minnesota before spending the night in Aberdeen, S.D.
“I spent a lot of time on Google maps coming up with new roads and new routes,” Mike says. “I wanted a trip that would be meaningful to us.”
And meaningful to AAP.
“I’m hoping it takes off,” Mike says. “It’s a call to action, and these donations will allow AAP to do even more, take it to a higher level. Create some programs other states can model.”
And a C7 Corvette will be right there in the middle of all the action.
“I think we should drive with the top off the whole time,” Mike teased Adam.
“I have three words. Heck and no,” Adam replied.
To keep up with the trip, check out these links:
- @48State at Twitter
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