by Anna Ferraro
Hosted the 3rd Saturday in September, Jacksonville’s 5K Run/Walk for Education is an exciting event with exciting implications. Created by Amy Albers six years ago, the proceeds from this event go toward providing grants to teachers in School District 117.
Albers shares, “My board and I are on a mission to enhance curriculum in District 117.” She explained that six years ago, when she became director of the Jacksonville Public Schools Foundation, teachers’ grants involved only $100 here and there.
Being a mother of three children and also surrounded by teacher friends, Albers shared from her heart, “It’s a real struggle – [teachers] have such great ideas, and they care about what they’re teaching their kids.” But, one of the main obstacles they face is lack of funds. Since its creation six years ago, she says that the 5K fundraiser “provides a great resource for them.”
How does it work? Each year, teachers submit applications detailing the resources they need to enhance their own learning environments. Albers shares, “I’m always so impressed with what they come up with.” The foundation then raises funds for these resources through the race. Race participants average 100-150 each year and include students, educators and families from the Jacksonville community and surrounding areas.
Each year, through the fundraiser, the foundation has been able to give away $4,000-$5,000 to teachers, supplying them with many resources to enhance their learning environments. These resources have included elementary music instruments, classroom and media center headphones, iPads, physical education equipment, kindergarten family math packs, high school graphing calculators, reading books, science curriculums and more.
But the fun about it is this, the 5K Run/Walk for Education is not just a competitive event; it’s very family-oriented, as well. Directly following the 5K and the presentation of awards to the top competitors, there is a “fun run” for parents of younger children. Here, for a fee of $5, children ages 12 and under can run laps around the square with their parents looking on. Albers says, “It’s a fun way to get them involved and get them thinking about running being active, and raise more awareness for the event.”
Registration fee is $23 for adults and $17 for youth 17 and under. Only registrations received by September 9 will be guaranteed a wicking race t-shirt.