East Grand eighth graders plan color run for annual service learning project
Proceeds to benefit NSCD's therapeutic riding center
Each year the eighth grade students at East Grand Middle School plan, organize and conduct a community service project as part of their social studies curriculum and this year is no exception.
Over the forthcoming Memorial Day Weekend the middle school’s upper classmen will be holding a Color Run for the NSCD. The Color Run will be held at Camp Chief Ouray, located on Grand County’s YMCA Snow Mountain Ranch property just south of Granby. The event will be broken down into two separate segments; a shorter two-and-a-half-kilometer race and a longer five-kilometer race. Proceeds from the event will go towards the National Sports Center for the Disabled’s therapeutic riding center, which is operated from the YMCA property.
“Our event is meant to help them (NSCD) with boarding and feeding the horses,” Ruby Yoder, Granby eighth grader, said. “Some will also go to scholarships.”
Yoder, who initially pitched the concept of a color run, explained she got the idea from some of her classmates who occasionally ride at the center.
“We heard they were at risk of closing and we kind of thought that this would help them out,” Yoder said. “It is really helpful for the kids who go there, it relaxes them and they get a sense of freedom.”
Eighth grade student Kenneth Hoffmeister expanded.
“The camp at the riding center is for kids with special needs,” he said. “The purpose is to give the kids a whole week with individuality. Where they can be their own person and do what they strive to do in life.”
The eighth grade service learning project is directed and sponsored each year by Abby Loberg, social studies teacher at East Grand. Loberg said some of her students, who volunteer with the NSCD’s therapeutic riding program, informed her and the rest of the eighth grade class about the riding center’s funding concerns.
“We wanted to raise awareness and funds to sustain it and keep it going,” Loberg said.
The selection of Memorial Day weekend was deliberate according to Hoffmeister. Memorial Day weekend was chosen because the date would not conflict with other school events, which are often clustered towards the end of the academic year. Additionally the students wanted to ensure the weather would be conducive for an extended outdoor event.
The students have shouldered the lion’s share of the planning and organizing efforts, according to eighth grader Collette Mace.
“We are pretty much planning all of it,” Mace said. “We had to figure out where it would be and what day. We are still figuring out what kind of food we will have afterwards and what will be put in the silent auction. We are all planning it together.”
Hoffmeister explained that the Color Run will also feature live music and potentially some backyard games to keep spectators and those not actually running the course entertained during the day’s proceedings. East Grand Middle School teacher Scott Hicks is expected to perform along with his band. Eighth graders will be stationed at various locations throughout the Color Run course and will be dousing participants with biodegradable colored powders.
Flyers for the event should start appearing around eastern Grand County in the coming weeks and team signups will be accepted starting April 9 after East Grand returns from Spring Break.
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