The Roanoke Public Library Foundation in partnership with the City of Roanoke Public Libraries presents the 2nd annual Roanoke Run for Refugees 5K. The 5K will take place at Wasena Park along the Roanoke River Greenway on Friday, September 9th at 6 p.m. All proceeds will benefit the Refugee Resettlement Program through Commonwealth Catholic Charities.
The Roanoke Run for Refugees will showcase a timed 5K distance run or walk, and a 1K race for children. Participants who register before August 24th will receive a Roanoke Run for Refugees 5K commemorative t-shirt, and all finishers will receive a medal.
Sheila Umberger, the Director of Roanoke City Public Libraries, states, “The Roanoke Public Libraries are excited to host this wonderful event that shows refugees in Roanoke how valued and supported they are. We are thankful to all of the participants, sponsors, and volunteers who make it such a success.”
Commonwealth Catholic Charities (CCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides quality, compassionate human services to all people, especially the most vulnerable, regardless of faith. Through their Refugee Resettlement Program, CCC helps individuals achieve stability and equips them with the skills and guidance they need to begin their new lives in the United States.
“We are thankful to be a part of a caring and compassionate community who so openly welcomes refugees. The support of everyone involved in the Roanoke Run for Refugees will enable CCC to continue providing meaningful services like housing assistance, language and cultural education, school enrollment, employment assistance, and so much more,” says Marnie Mills, Mission Advancement Associate at CCC.
The Roanoke Run for Refugees 5K will also be the kick-off event for Welcoming Week. Welcoming Week is an annual campaign and celebration to showcase the movement of communities striving to be more welcoming places for all, including immigrants. Welcoming Week (and our longer welcoming month) provides our community the opportunity to proclaim welcoming values through events and initiatives that foster mutual understanding between immigrants and non-immigrants, as well as deeper belonging for all.
“Welcoming Week is one of my favorite times of the year! Having spent most of my life in Roanoke, I have always loved this city. But there is something so special and uplifting about watching Roanokers of all different backgrounds coming together to celebrate belonging. We are all different and unique in many ways, but our strength comes when we celebrate and embrace diversity rather than disparage it. Welcoming Week gives us so many opportunities to celebrate, support, and get to know neighbors with all kinds of stories and to make Roanoke a stronger community as a result,” says Katie Hedrick,
Community Inclusion Coordinator for the City of Roanoke.