Why This Race?
The One Run Columbia 5K and 10K event was founded by churches in downtown Columbia (Riverside Community Church, Columbia Crossroads Downtown, Columbia Presbyterian, Midtown Fellowship, Church of the Apostles, and Grace Church) to raise awareness, solicit prayers, fundraise, and recruit individuals and families for the purpose of meeting the mentoring needs of our city. By banding together as churches, we can have greater impact for the cause of Christ. We can also demonstrate that the churches of downtown care for our city in the name of Christ. All proceeds from this run will go to Ezekiel Ministries and YoungLife Downtown – two Christian organizations investing heavily in the personal, academic and spiritual development of our city’s youth.
Mayor Steve Benjamin has identified mentoring as one of our city’s greatest needs. As a community of families, churches, and professionals who love the city of Columbia, we couldn’t agree more. The success of our youth is critical to our city’s future. More importantly, it’s critical for their own futures. Many of our underprivileged children and families in Downtown Columbia find themselves in unhealthy and unsafe environments. Many of our most at-risk youth struggle with poor behavior, inappropriate responses to authority, and an inability to interact, play, and work with their peers. Additionally, many grow up in a context where crime is the norm, including the sale and use of drugs, abuse of alcohol and use of violence. These destabilizing aspects of Columbia’s more impoverished areas deprive children of the practical and relational resources they need to become grounded men and women.
Mentoring is one way – a strategic way – we can address the needs of our city’s youth.
Mentoring is powerful. Mentoring provides the ability for an adult to come alongside children to equip and empower them with skills for academic, social and professional achievement. Due to lack of parent involvement at school and at home – for a variety of reasons – incomplete homework assignments, poor nutrition and poor attendance are all too common. The families also do not always have the financial means for basic resources for school and health due to the cycle of generational poverty that surrounds them. Mentoring is designed to specifically address these challenges. But even more important than addressing academic and practical needs, “at its most basic level,” Mayor Benjamin writes, “mentoring guarantees a young person that there is someone who cares about them.”
Why Get Involved?
God cares for these children and families, therefore, we care. We stand together with our city for Columbia’s youth and families. We hope this event will not only prompt many in our city to give financially, but also encourage them to heed the challenge our mayor has issued, and become mentors. Will you run? Will you donate? Will you volunteer? Will you become a mentor?