The annual Friendship Walk and 5k Run brought out community members to support Village Community Services on Sept. 11.
The walk and 5K run raise funds for local non-profit Village Community Services which assists adults with developmental disabilities.
“We didn’t know what this year was going to be like, because last year was 100 percent virtual,” said Tina Kies, who does public relations for Village Community Services and participated in this year’s run.
“It’s going pretty good, I think. Because of the pandemic we were anticipating fewer people,” said Michelle Dietz, executive director of Village Community Services.
The event had 71 registered participants this year.
Runners come out to take part in a run along the Centennial Trail, beginning and ending at Legion Park.
“It’s awesome. This is my third time and it’s always really great,” said run participant Antoinette Walker. “I like the atmosphere. Everyone is always so friendly."
This is the second time she participated in the event, said Jordyn Morrell-Losey.
“I think it’s definitely a lot more low-key and there’s always a lot to do,” she said.
The Centennial Trail is a good place for a run as well.
“If you’re competitive the course is flat and fast, and it’s super scenic so it’s enjoyable,” said Kies.
Participants are also encouraged to come in superhero costume if they want, as the event typically has a superhero theme.
“If you’re just a fun runner, it’s fun. You get to dress up and people are super supportive,” said Kies.
A walk also took place during the day for those who can’t prepare for a 5K run.
Funds from the event go to support Village Community Services' music program Voices of the Village.
“Voices of the Village is a performance ensemble made up of people with intellectual disabilities,” said Dietz.
The band typically has around 30 members participating at any given time.
“They play gigs all over the state of Washington. In some years they have played as many as 42,” she said.
During the pandemic that number has been reduced as they can only do outdoor shows though.
“Music is therapeutic. People form friendships and it’s great for social bonding. It’s wonderful for your mental health to create music with other people,” said Dietz.
The program has been especially important during the pandemic.
“It’s really helped reduce that depression from isolation,” said Dietz.
Voices of the Village started performing every Sunday at the Village Community Services parking lot during the pandemic.
The shows are at 3210 Smokey Point Drive, Suite 200 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.
A second weekly showing began this month at Immaculate Conception Church, every Wednesday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
More information about Village Community Services is available at villagecommunitysvcs.org.