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Race for Grace: Fund raiser to benefit women’s home

By Staff | May 19, 2012

Southwest Florida Teen Challenge is hoping to double the amount of funds raised at this year’s Race for Grace, which benefits one of its homes.

Teen Challenge is a one-year residential program that addresses life-controlling addictions and behaviors. Proceeds from the 5th Annual Race for Grace will benefit the program’s 20-bed women’s home in Fort Myers.

Those who sign up can participate in a 5K walk, 5K run or 10K run.

Last year, there were about 125 participants. Nearly $5,000 was raised.

“This particular fund-raiser benefits the women’s home entirely,” Kevin Cummings, executive director of Teen Challenge, said. “The dollars stay local and 100 percent (of what is raised) goes directly to our women’s home.”

This year, organizers are hoping to raise $10,000 at the event.

“It helps us in our operations – we’re primarily donor funded,” Cummings said. “It helps us defray the costs of bringing our services to people.”

The 5th Annual Race for Grace takes place May 26 at Oasis Middle School. Registration opens at 6 p.m., and the races and walk will start at 7 a.m.

To register in advance, visit online: www.active.com by 1 p.m. May 25.

The 5K walk and 5K run are both $20 for adults 18 and older and $15 for youths under 18. The 10K run costs $25 for adults and $20 for youths.

Water and Gatorade stations will be placed along the course.

“It is a family event,” Sue Hook, the director of the event, said. “Parents can bring a stroller if they want to push a child in the walk.”

Rollerblades, bicycles and such will not be permitted.

“There’s going to be all age group awards,” she said. “We’re going to have drawings for prizes, which all the participants will be eligible for.”

Participants age 21 and older will be entered into a drawing for a two-night stay at the Castaways Beach Resort, which is located on Sanibel-Captiva.

“The main reason that we started this fund-raiser five years ago was to increase people’s awareness, not only of Teen Challenge, but of the women’s center,” Hook, who is also a nurse practitioner with a medical group, said.

She said her office sees people with addictions almost every week.

“Men and women alike,” Hook said. “Every person in the United States has been affected by drug or alcohol abuse.”

Teen Challenge has been serving Southwest Florida since 1994. Along with the women’s home, there is a 40-bed men’s home in Fort Myers, as well as a recently new 18-bed transitional or re-entry home for program graduates.

“We’ve been established for many years, helping people break free from their addictions to lead healthy lives,” Cummings said.

Teen Challenge International has 1,200 centers in 91 countries. For those who complete the program, there is an 81 percent success rate, he said.

“We want people to know that we’re here – we want people to get involved,” Cummings said. “We’re here for anybody that has addictions.”

The Run Shoppe in Cape Coral helped to organize the race.

Oasis Middle School is at 3507 Oasis Blvd.

For more information on the Annual Race for Grace, visit: www.active.com.