RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Ridgefield Academy will host its annual all-school fitness event, Run4RA, on Friday, May 20.
Students in kindergarten through Grade 8, along with faculty and staff, will run or walk for age-appropriate lengths of time – raising funds for teacher development in the process. This year's Run4RA will also incorporate a service element that ties in with the school’s dedication to community, locally and globally.
By donating gently used sneakers, participants will also take part in an initiative started by The More Foundation, an organization dedicated to positively impacting the environment in the United States and Africa. The Academy is working closely with Ridgefield Running Company on the donation of running shoes.
“To me, Run4RA is maybe the most special event of the school year,” said Beth MacInnes, Ridgefield Academy’s Athletic Director. “It brings together fitness and fun in such a meaningful way. The whole school community comes together to celebrate our school, our friends and our teachers as we all walk or run together. This year we are trying to reach a lofty goal of 7,000 total minutes of sustained running or walking and significant donations that will go towards our Teacher Enrichment Fund and Summer Grants.”
Students enlist the commitment of donors, who pledge a dollar amount per minutes walked. Each grade contributes a portion of the 7,000-minute goal. For example, multiple Grade 2 students will run for 20 minutes, students in grades 3-5 will run for 25 minutes and students, grades 6-8 will run for 30 minutes.
Last year, $17,000 was raised and applied to teacher enrichment grants that benefitted the school community. Annually, grants support teacher passions and interests through programs that support travel, training and skill-building; support for teachers has included everything from adopting and training a service animal to traveling to isolated locations to study writing.
Dedication to community is a focus at Ridgefield Academy, which is why Service Learning Director Kate Howell says the Run4RA event was such a perfect opportunity to work with Ridgefield Running Company and The More Foundation this year.
“Run4RA has traditionally been a community building event,” said Howell, “and service to others is an essential part of our school's mission. We conduct various clothing and food drives throughout the year, and Run4RA seemed like a great opportunity to extend the benefits of this school event beyond the RA campus and incorporate an element of awareness and service for our students.”
The idea to work with Ridgefield Running Company came from Wendy Wo Beurket, President of the Ridgefield Academy’s Parent Association (RAPA) and an active member of RACares, a parent-guided organization that supports the school and local community.
Run4RA will serve a variety of purposes, from promoting fitness to supporting the environment. It also has a positive effect on the students, who enjoy the experience just for the fun of it.
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