For years, one of Ft. Wayne, Indiana’s most unfortunate claims to fame is being among the unhealthiest and most obese cities in America. In reaction to these unflattering superlatives, a non-profit organization called Fort4Fitness was founded in 2008 to promote healthy living and fitness in Northeast Indiana. One of the signature events hosted by Fort4Fitness is the Fall Festival, which will take place on September 25th and 26th. The Fort Wayne office of the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic is proud to be a Fort4Fitness charity partner for the second year in a row.
Desiree Koger-Gustafson, Director of the Ft. Wayne office, says that originally they held their own 5K to raise awareness for their free legal services, but found the many demands of coordinating such an event difficult for the two-person staff. Desiree says, “We decided we were going to go with the charity partnership last year [with Fort4Fitness]. And we got signed up and we got sponsors for our own Race4Justice team and everybody had t-shirts. And we had almost 60 people run for our team and we thought, ‘This is a great event.’”
This year, in addition to the marathon, the Ft. Wayne office is giving the entire Race4Justice team a special opportunity. The night before the event, when participants go to pick up their race packets and visit the booths of the various charity partners at the Fall Festival Expo, Desiree says, “We are going to be giving away tickets to come down to our pasta dinner so people can actually go through our office and meet the staff…and get free carbs for the race.” By adding this communal element to the event, Desiree is hoping to promote camaraderie and to help the Race4Justice team feel connected to one another, as well as to the Clinic.
Building on last year’s momentum, they are hoping to get at least 100 people to run for the Clinic, all of whom will receive a free dri-FIT t-shirt with the Race4Justice logo. But even if marathons are not your thing, you can still participate. In addition to racers, the Clinic is looking for people to fill their cheer block on the day of the event or to help man the Expo booth.
When asked why they chose a race, Desiree says, “There’s nobody else in legal aid doing that kind of an awareness campaign.” And moreover, she explains, it is simply a fun event. She says, “[Running] is such an electrifying experience; I’ve not had too many people that have walked it and been part of that and got to finish, and not said ‘I want to do this next year.’”
If you have questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Desiree Koger-Gustafson at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.nclegalclinic.org/Default.aspx?alias=www.nclegalclinic.org/ftwayne to learn more about the event or to join the Race4Justice team now.