Racing for a Cause: Annual Summer Fun Run Funds Grants for ABC School District Classrooms and Students

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Photos courtesy of the ABC Summer Fun Run website & photo gallery. 

Tomorrow, the ABC Unified School District (ABCUSD) will be hosting its third annual Summer Fun Run at the Los Cerritos Center Mall—the primary fundraising event for the district’s grant distributor, the ABC Foundation.

All net proceeds from the run benefit the ABC Foundation, which last year offered $25,000 in mini-grants to teachers and the community with a focus on enhancing student learning. 

“The run is fun and for non-competitive people and racers alike,” said fun run organizer Melinda Ortiz. She said the event has grown from 700 participants in its first year to about 1,000 who signed up for tomorrow’s run.

The fun run features a wellness fair from 7:00AM to 11:00PM, a 5k run beginning at 7:45AM, a 2k run for kits at 9:00AM and a kids run at 9:30AM. Registration opens at 6:00AM on race day. 

image-5-2The money from the fun run goes exclusively to teachers and students, providing funding for classroom-specific projects and items like backpacks to students who can’t afford them.

The run is sponsored by Los Cerritos Center at the Platinum Level, Kaiser, SchoolsFirst Fcu and Los Cerritos Community News at the Gold Level and LBS Financial, Walk n’ Rollers and Browning Automotive at the Silver Level. The Gateway Guardian is Bronze, and 59 other sponsors join these companies at lower sponsorship levels. 

John Laird, an eighth grade science teacher at Fedde Middle School, was surprised and happy when he received a grant from the ABC Unified School District’s ABC Foundation last year.

He was finally able to create the concept about which he’d dreamt for three to five years, but never had the money to implement: a “Mars rover” project, which would involve students designing and simulating a human’s first time on Mars.IMG 9694 1

The program created 12 mars rover simulators and sent the imaginations of the kids in his classroom soaring.

“The grant allowed my students to participate in real world, hands-on activities that encourage them to be involved in engineering, 3D design, working collaborative and in teams,” Laird said. “[They learned] problem solving and creative thinking that you use in every occupation.”

Alana MacDonald, a special education teacher at Nixon Academy, said she was inspired by what teachers could do with the money received in grant form from the ABC Foundation after the run.

“The [grant] allows teachers to be free and creative,” she said. “As a teacher, we have less and less opportunities to do that.”

Ortiz said in the future years, the ABC Foundation hopes to grow the race and add a 10k, perhaps moving to a larger venue.

But tomorrow, organizers will simply focus on running a smooth event that will provide funding for more unique classroom learning experiences and increased resources for students in need.

“It’s year three, and I couldn’t be more proud,” said Ortiz.

Above, left and right: John Laird’s Mars Rover program and class. Photos courtesy John Laird. 

This story was updated on 06/19/15 at 6:56PM, clarifying the sponsors of the run. 

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