The Friendship Walk and 5k Run will go virtual this year in an effort to continue the annual fundraiser that supports Voices of the Village.

Village Community Services is a local non-profit that provides programs and support for adults with developmental disabilities, one of their most popular is the 'Voices of the Village' band program.

The organization's annual Friendship Walk has helped raise money for many years.

Due to COVID-19 they have had to get more creative this year though.

"Instead of a live event we're going virtual," said Michelle Dietz, executive director of the organization.

"People can start now and train for a 5k or 10k walk or run," she said.

Individuals can sign up now at the event's Facebook page at facebook.com/FriendshipWalk5KRun/

and have until Sept. 19 to finish their run or walk.

"The idea is close to the Sept. 10 day they would do the run, take a picture with their time and send it to our Facebook page," said Dietz.

Runners are invited to put on their favorite superhero costume for their run and photos, as is tradition with the event.

"We still have a superhero theme so you're encouraged to do the run with a superhero costume," said Dietz.

Village Community Services wanted to continue with their fundraiser this year even if it couldn't be in person.

"We've seen other organization go virtual with their runs and have some success," said Dietz.

She said that so far people have enjoyed the option of training on their own time and preparing for a run somewhere they are familiar with.

"The runner has the option of doing it at their own pace and in their own neighborhood," said Dietz.

There's already been a lot of enthusiastic response, she said.

"We've already seen some people posting their walking goals," said Dietz. "Some people are using this as an opportunity to train for a longer walk."

The submitted times will still be ranked this year, although everyone participating is one the honor system this time, said Dietz.

"And we still have the competitive aspect from posting on Facebook for those that want that," she said.

The Friendship Walk is one of the biggest fundraisers each year for Voices of the Village, a program that allows adults with developmental disabilities a chance to join a band that typically tours around various festivals each year.

"Voices of the Village is an opportunity for people who live with disabilities to shine," said Dietz.

"It puts them in the community in a way they are not usually seen … it gives the members stature and a feeling of being valued for who they are," she said.

Currently the band has not been able to physically get together but they are still practicing with a socially distanced mobile music unit that comes to adults with disabilities driveways.

"Voices of the Village is currently doing music on the move," said Dietz.

More information about the Friendship Walk is available at facebook.com/FriendshipWalk5KRun/.

 

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