The benefit event will be held Saturday morning at Eastview Mall.

VICTOR — When it comes to her 5-year-old daughter Emma, mom Melissa Sherman said that autism does not define her.

It’s simply a part of her.

“I’d like Emma to be viewed as a hilarious, smart, witty, beautiful child with autism, rather than placing a label on her,” said Sherman. “Happiness House’s staff has done the same for her.”

Emma Sherman was first introduced to Happiness House in 2014 through early intervention services after experiencing difficulties as a toddler. Emma was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, through the Autism Services of the Finger Lakes Autism Diagnostic Clinic & Treatment Clinic, allowing her to receive the care and treatment that she needed directly through Happiness House.

Emma will serve as honorary chair of the Ability Partners Foundation and Autism Services of the Finger Lakes’ seventh annual Autism Awareness Walk on Saturday at Eastview Mall.

“Throughout Emma’s time at Happiness House, it cannot be said enough how patient, kind, and supportive staff have been to Emma and our family,” said Sherman. “Her ‘pink room’ teacher for all three years has been Chrissy D’Amico, who has served as not only an amazing teacher to my daughter, but as a constant resource and supporter for myself. I have never had any worry about the services or care that she was receiving because they treat Emma like she is their own child; I love and appreciate this about the staff. In addition to the love and support given by staff, Emma has learned necessary skills for her to be able to be successful as she graduates to kindergarten next year.”

Sherman, of Geneva, said she was very proud to hear that Emma will be honorary chair.

“She has worked very hard to get to where she is today, and to me, it means that other people recognize her strength, growth, and tenacity in participating in services,” said Sherman.

Along with Emma and Melissa, Emma’s dad, Kristopher, and Melissa’s brother, Nick Morley, also will be participating in the walk.

The walk last year raised over $31,000 in support of the services the agencies offer to individuals of all ages exhibiting characteristics of, or diagnosed with, ASD. Free registration for the family-friendly event starts at 8 a.m. at Food Court Entrance No. 5. Matt Tumbelekis of Sound Entertainment will provide DJ services, and there will be face painting, a bake sale, and costumed characters. All registrants will receive free T-shirts, while supplies last.

Before the walk, participants are encouraged to collect pledges from family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Prizes for participants who collect pledges include gift cards and a chance to win a Lenovo laptop. For more information, or to sponsor the Autism Awareness Walk, as well as instructions on how to set up an online fundraising page, visit www.happinesshouse.org/news/events.aspx. Questions can be directed to Laura Wakley at 585-412-9040, ext. 1324, or via e-mail at lwakley@happinesshouse.org.

Sherman said it’s important for the community to support Happiness House because the organization gives children in this community the skills they need to help them to succeed. More importantly, Happiness House is an organization that supports children for whoever they are, in a non-judgmental and loving way.

“Happiness House fosters the growth of children in need of services without wanting to change who they are, but helping to become the best that they can be,” she said. “For that, they should be strongly supported and praised for their work because I have seen first-hand, the fruits of their labor and the impact they can make.”