This year’s annual Friendship Walk, organized by local 501c3 nonprofit, Village Community Services, will now feature a 5K run component to boost event participation and elevate overall awareness of its music program and member ensemble band, Voices of the Village.

This year’s 11th Annual Friendship Walk & 5K Run is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, at Legion Memorial Park with every penny of its proceeds benefiting Voices of the Village and its members.

Voices of the Village was founded nearly 15 years ago as an interactive music program primarily driven by, but not exclusive to, individuals who live with developmental disabilities. Today, the band showcases its talents and inspires audiences throughout Washington state. With an estimated 40 performances year-around, the ensemble band has an annual following of more than 2,500 community supporters. Membership in the ensemble is open to people of all ages and abilities.

“It’s way more than music,” said Vicki Adams, Board President of Village Community Services, when asked about the purpose behind the band. “It’s an opportunity to be in community, and it’s an opportunity to be applauded and heard.”

Studies have indicated numerous benefits of music therapy for those living with diverse disabilities and special needs, including enhanced speech and communication, fine motor skills, and social-emotional skill development. Participating in music therapy programs also provides individuals with elevated self-esteem and a sense of fulfillment.

“With every performance, we bear witness to something akin to magic; that’s what it feels like to those of us in the audience,” said Michelle Dietz, Executive Director, Village Community Services. “We’re encouraging our neighbors to come out and support this great music program by registering to run or walk. The venue is beautiful, the live entertainment will keep you engaged, and the spirit of friendship will be present in full force.”

“Stick It or Stuff It”, a locally owned food truck, will serve healthy and affordable breakfast and lunch favorites and VCS clients and supporters will host a car wash at the park.

The 11th Annual Friendship Walk & 5K Run scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22, with a 9 a.m. start time. Registration opens at 8:30 a.m. The event, which will begin and end at Legion Memorial Park in Arlington, will have a “Super Hero” theme and incorporate portions of the Centennial Trail. This year’s run will be managed by Tortoise & Hare, a Seattle-based race management company, who will provide official times for all 5K participants for the first time since the event’s inception. 

Prizes will be awarded to top finishers of each category upon completion of the 5K and walk portions. Pre-registration is available online through RunSignUp with “early bird” pricing of $20 available through Sept. 15. Pricing increases to $25 thereafter, including day-of registration. Children under the age of 12 participate for free.

For more information about the 11th Annual Friendship Walk & 5K Run, please visit the event page on Facebook or contact VCS Executive Director Michelle Dietz at either mdietz@villagecommunitysvcs.org or 360-653-7752 ext. 14.

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