Trendarious, aged 10, had looked forward to the morning for weeks, and, on Saturday, April 17th, he awoke eagerly to execute the Run For Our Community 5K he and his young peers at Lincoln Gardens and Commonwealth Village had dreamed up and organized. Their hard work came alive early in the morning as they dressed in lime green Springboard shirts and orange traffic vests, hanging up hand-painted signs and welcoming the guests.
La’Keria, aged 14, stood alongside the mayor, Tony Yarber, the superintendent of JPS, Cedrick Gray, teachers from Dawson Elementary School, Springboard supporters, and engaged Jackson residents as they ran together in a path around her neighborhood. Money from registered runners went back into her community, an important decision she voted for alongside her friends earlier this year.“My favorite part was going door to door to tell everyone about the event, so that the whole community could know that we were holding the 5K walk to raise money for our community and for the children’s hospital. Because we raised the money ourselves, we felt really proud.”—Joshlyn, 11
Shantiece, a 9th grader at Lanier, waited at the finish line, greeting La’Keria and the others as they crossed, handing out the necklaces she created to each individual as they stepped off the route and into a growing crowd of supporters at Lincoln Gardens.The finish line was unlike that at a typical race. Instead of a concern for times and winners, each person that crossed the line was greeted by a group of young boys and girls thanking them for being part of the special day. The racers did not retreat to their cars, but, instead, lingered. The crowd at the finish line grew exponentially, community blossomed as cheers and laughter became the soundtrack of the morning.
Following the race, everyone joined for a community block party at the finish line at Commonwealth Village Apartments.
One Springboard mom, Akerie, described the tangible atmosphere of support, “from the stage to the participants, everyone continued to motive each other, which helped me [as a runner] press on.” She particularly appreciated the effort the kids and teens put into the event. It bursted with excitement and love.After the race, the crowd joined the Springboard block party in the community, where new and old friends ate, chatted, and danced together. There, Trendarious, Le’Keria, Shantiece, and many others spent the day living out a powerful idea: that community blooms where children plant the seeds of hope, and are given the tools to help it grow. The Run for Our Community 5K and Block Party provided that space, full of light and joy, designed by the minds of children, capturing the hearts of their community.
ToLeadership Greater Jackson, United Way of the Capital Area, and everyone who participated in the 5K, you helped our youth celebrate and support their community. The fact that so many joined this event speaks volumes about good neighbors, growing communities, and a spirit of giving.