Silver Lining Youth Services is hoping runners will come out in force Saturday for its first big fundraiser.
The Fit 4 Life 5K will start and end at Civic Plaza, the downtown grassy area that sits where Trade and Fourth streets meet. The route will take participants to a strollway that snakes along South Main Street. The $30 registration fees for the 5K and the $15 fees for a one-mile fun run will help support the work of Silver Lining, a 501(c)3 non-profit focused on helping youth through tutoring and athletic activities.
Founder Howard Venable said running is a perfect way to raise money for a non-profit that promotes healthy living.
“My goal and mission for Silver Lining Youth Services is to become a partner in …the Triad area to have healthier communities,” he said.
Venable found allies for his cause at the dental office of Dr. Eric Sadler, who practices at locations in both Greensboro and Winston.
“I do believe that childhood obesity is something we definitely need to combat. I’ve seen it get progressively worse over the years,” said Sadler, who is one of the event’s sponsors.
Two of Sadler’s employees are among the dozens who are slated to participate in Saturday’s run. Dental hygienist Lisa Williams and Lee Greene, who works in the front office, are both regular runners.
“It’s like killing two birds with one stone: you get to exercise and help a good friend out in the community,” said Williams. “You get to see and network with people who are also interested in the things that you’re interested in.”
This will be Greene’s first 5K (or 3.1 mile) race; she’s looking forward to the challenge.
“Mr. Venable, he provides a good service for the community so I’m willing to help out,” she said.
Winston-Salem State University’s Center for Community Safety, New Balance of Winston-Salem, H&W Enterprises, Winford Brown-Ramseur & Associates, Steam Academy and The TransformED Foundation have also signed on as sponsors.
Venable started Silver Lining in 2002. At the time, he was working with young people at Visionswork Youth Services. He created the nonprofit to offer a different way to reach youth. He gave it the name Silver Lining so that program participants would always be reminded of the great opportunities and potential that lay ahead.
“You’ve got a dark cloud over your life, (but) there’s always a silver lining behind it,” he said. “There’s always something better to come.”
The mission of the organization has changed over the years. About six years ago, Silver Lining began offering mental health services, a practice that was halted in 2010. Venable then began incorporating fitness camps. The first camp in 2011 was attended by Tiny Rams Pop Warner football players and others in the community. The week-long summer camp held at Hill Middle School gave 35-40 youth a chance to learn proper training techniques and on-field skills. Trainers from the The Rush Fitness Complex downtown helped out and provided the young participants with water bottles and towels. Another camp was held last year for the Carver High School Football Team.
“Most of these particular students don’t have the funds or the financial backing to go to a personal trainer to either get the information or get educated on how to properly train for what particular sport they want to engage in,” said Venable.
Silver Lining also holds TEAM FIT, an exercise group that meets Saturday mornings at Hanes Park for running and other fitness activities. Mentoring and obesity awareness initiatives are now in the works.
Thus far, Venable said, Silver Lining has mostly been a one-man operation, with him keeping it afloat, often with funds from his own pocket. He hopes the Fit 4 Life 5K fundraiser changes that and allows him to take the organization to the next level. He plans to make the 5K an annual fundraiser.
Runners may register for the Fit for Life 5k at silverliningyouthservices.org, at the downtown Rush Fitness Complex today (Thursday) or Friday from 4 –9 p.m. or on race day (Saturday) at Civic Plaza, starting at 8 a.m. The Fun Run starts at 8:30 a.m.; the 5K starts at 9 a.m.