Austintown will have a new 5K race on May 19 that hopes to bring awareness to Mission of Love and to help raise funds to help the nonprofit organization continue to bring humanitarian aid to the underserved around the globe.
Mission of Love has for the past 20-plus years served the indigenous peoples of the world by providing homes, medical aid and other needs, mainly for the children. But any type of aid comes with a price and the hope is to bring some funds in while bringing awareness.
Mission of Love was started by longtime Austintown resident Kathy Price. She has devoted her life to helping the forgotten children have a chance at life. Her recent accomplishments were in establishing Way-Bi Children's Hospice Center in Tecpan, Guatemala. Prior to the construction of the hospice, children with terminal illness were sent home to die on dirt floors.
Price's mission has also become a mission for her daughter, Shannon Royea. For some time, Royea wanted to do something special to help Mission of Love and it finally happened.
"I had always wanted to run a 5K," Royea said. "This past year, I made a decision to just get it done and to run a 5K before my 40th birthday. I ran two before I turned 40 and one a week after. I saw how this could be a fundraiser and opportunity to educate our community regarding Mission of Love. My mom, a lifetime Austintown resident, started Mission of Love in 1989 and it has grown as a grassroots organization since then to provide humanitarian aid to those in need worldwide."
Royea put the race together after talking with Austintown Trustee Lisa Oles. She said Oles suggested the community event to begin at the 9/11Memorial.
"We agreed that it would be a fantastic opportunity to showcase the 9/11 Memorial and Austintown schools campus, as well as building community pride and solidarity within our community, while also raising the awareness about Mission of Love," Royea said.
She also got permission from the schools and 9/11 Park for the race. In no time she had permission from the schools as well as the Austintown Police Department.
Royea said the main goal of the race is to bring awareness, but any funds that are raised will be a big help.
"We are planning to head to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation this summer to build another home for a deserving Native American family," said Price.
She said to build one home takes around $10,000 and a crew to put in one week's work. Often the homes that are built on the reservation serve families that were previously living in dilapidated buildings or trailers that have little protection from the harsh South Dakota winters. She said the people on the reservation have over an 80 percent unemployment rate.
Royea is hoping to help her mom provide another suitable shelter for a family, but her main interest is more in awareness.
"As far as how much we are hoping to raise -- we don't really have a goal amount set. The goal is to help our community know about the Mission of Love and the great works provided," Royea said.
Royea is using her passions to pull this event together. A student of exercise science at Youngstown State University, she is a runner and into yoga and spinning, while also serving as a private swimming instructor.
"Health and wellness are of great interest to me," she said.
The race just seemed to fit.
The race is listed on several sites online where runners and/or walkers can register. Royea also has a Facebook page.
"I can be reached at 330-770-6785 or firstname.lastname@example.org for information on donations, sponsorships, volunteering or participating," she said. "Involvement of any sort is sought and encouraged, and those interested should contact me."
The race registration will open at 1 p.m. Sunday, May 19 and the race will start at 2 p.m. at the 9/11 Memorial Park on South Raccoon Road across from AMS. The race will go through the school campus and surrounding neighborhoods. After the race, awards will be given out at an after-party at Barry Dyngles, 1601 South Raccoon Road. Barry Dyngles' owner is planning to give a portion of sales back to Mission of Love that day.
To pre-register, visit the website at runsignup.com and search for Mission of Love.
Royea said awards will be given to the top three overall male and female finishers. Awards will also be presented to the top three finishers in each of the following age groups for men as well as women: 13 and under, 14-17, 18-24, 25-30, 31-36, 37-42, 43-48, 48-54, 55-59, 60-plus for women and 60-65, and 66-plus for men. All runners who attend the after party are entered to win a catered party by Barry Dyngles worth $500.