13-year-old Allen Park student battles bullying with autism awareness club

A 13-year-old boy with a big heart is working to help kids who are struggling with autism.

Braden Albright started an autism awareness club at his school and is hoping for a big turnout for an event he’s organizing.

“I have a couple friends with autism,” he said. “School is hard enough but it is even worse if you are being made fun of, for the way you look or the way you act when you can’t help it.”

Albright is an Allen Park Middle School 8th grader and is using the courage of his convictions he decided to start the club. They even hold weekly meetings.

“I think bullying is totally unacceptable and I do not tolerate it,” Albright said. “I think kids that don’t understand autism make fun of it. I think that is not right. That’s why we created the club to bring arareness and acceptance at our school.”

Last year – Braden designed and sold T-shirts to raise money for the autism awareness club. This year the captain of the football team is stepping up his game.

“Braden came back this year and said I want to go bigger than the T-shirt sale,” said teacher Pam McGuire. “And he has just been running with this. Every morning he comes running in my room with a new donation or a new idea.”

On April 22nd on the Allen Park Middle School football field, Braden and his club will be hosting a walk for awareness.

Five dollars will get you fun, food, games, prizes and so much more.

“I hope they learn more about autism just have fun come to our event,” Braden said.

“I think it is amazing we need a hundred more Bradens in my view,” McGuire said.

Pam McGuire is the autistic spectrum disorder teacher at the school knowing all too well the importance of Braden’s efforts. Latest statistics show one in 68 children are diagnosed on the spectrum.

“We are really promoting inclusion and want all kids to feel included and to avoid bullying,” she said. “My students are targets – that’s a known statsitic. Anything we can do at this level is a big help.”

Braden, his teachers and the principal are already seeing a difference.

“More people are going up to autistic kids talking to them, saying hello, walking with them to classes in the hallway,” Braden said. “I think it is really great.”

So many local businesses have donated prizes and Allen Park police and fire will also be there. Here are the details – The Walk for Awareness is 1 to 4 p.m. April 22nd and just $5 to get in.