By Diane Stamm
The Wauneta Breeze
The Nebraska TRUTH Campaign recently announced Imperial as the summer’s final stop for its “Color Me Courageous” 5k Fun Run/Walk fundraising tour.
“We are very excited to bring Color Me Courageous to southwest Nebraska and Imperial is a great fit,” said Dave Vrbas, executive director for Nebraska Kids TRUTH Campaign.
“We had really wanted to host one in the area, but were running into time constraints. Thankfully, Heidi Anderson asked for permission to organize the event. We can’t thank her enough for her involvement,” he said.
Vrbas and Anderson were high school classmates at Wauneta-Palisade and have stayed in contact. Anderson started running 5k races last year and knew there weren’t many in the area. Anderson said she felt organizing a 5k event would be the perfect way to support Vrbas and his family.
“I kept thinking about how I could help him, what I wanted to donate and how much, but couldn’t decide what I wanted to do,” Anderson said. “One night after seeing all of his posts about the Color Runs I realized that was it.”
Ravenna, in central Nebraska, hosted the first Color Me Courageous July 26. Runs are also scheduled in Alliance Aug. 31 and Lincoln Sept.14.
Imperial’s event will be held Saturday, Sept. 27 in Campbell Park, starting at 9 a.m.
Participants are encouraged to walk or run in costume, and will be doused with colored, non-toxic, biodegradable powder after each kilometer of the five-kilometer course. At the finish line, runners and walkers will have their own packets of color they can throw in the air during the post-race color party.
Anderson said costumes should be loud, colorful and fun. The shirts that come with the registration fee will be white to show the color.
Along the way, people can stop at two “selfie stations” to take pictures and catch their breath plus hit the “TRUTH Photo Booth” at the starting line.
Registration is now open on Active.com, and can be accessed through the Nebraska Kids TRUTH Campaign website at www.nebraskatruth.org and clicking on the EVENTS tab, or by searching for Color Me Courageous–Imperial on Active.com.
Registration is set at $35 and ends Sept. 6. Each registrant will receive a t-shirt and an individual color packet to throw in the air during the finish line color party.
Special rates are available for groups larger than five people who register together. Children under five do not need to be registered, but must be accompanied by a registered adult. Merchandise will be for sale at the event.
Families are encouraged to attend, and all ages and fitness levels are welcomed.
Anderson said that so far, the event’s Facebook page shows over 200 people planning on attending. Volunteers and sponsors are still needed and those interested can contact Anderson at 308-883-1079.
“It’s going to be a really fun morning for the Wauneta and Imperial communities to come together and support this nonprofit foundation,” said Anderson. “This run is special because I feel as a community we need to not only help financially but physically be there to support Dave and his entire family. It’s why we live in small towns, the community love and support.”
She added that a nonprofit such as this is probably needed more than anyone ever knows or ever wants to hear about.
“It’s about helping kids who didn’t choose this path,” she said.
“We want folks to come out and enjoy the fun. This isn’t just a fundraiser for us. It’s also a chance for us to continue to raise awareness about the scourge of child abuse in our state, and tell people how we intend to battle it,” Vrbas said. “We count all our walkers and runners at these events as allies.”
Nebraska Kids TRUTH Campaign is a non-profit organization looking to raise funds for its initiatives in the area of child abuse response and treatment across Nebraska. TRUTH is an acronym for Tell, Respond, Understand, Treat and Heal.
“We want to change the culture of response to abuse in Nebraska,” Vrbas explained. “By building a statewide alliance of adult allies for children, we can do that. Children need to know they can tell a trusted adult about their abuse and that we, as adults, will see them through the process on their way to healing.”
Plans for the organization include distributing “You Are Loved” teddy bears to crisis centers and anyone else who works with abused children on a professional basis so they can pass along the tangible and powerful message to abused children that they are loved.
Also in the works are plans to build an adult alliance for abused children so they know they’re safe when they report abuse, to develop a comprehensive curriculum for schools, fund counseling for victims and their families and develop a scholarship program both for abused children and Nebraska high school seniors who want to work with victims in their times of crisis after attending a Nebraska college.
People more interested in riding, rather than running, can support the Nebraska Kids TRUTH Campaign by traveling to Indianola Saturday for a TRUTH sponsored motorcycle rodeo.
For more information, visit the Nebraska Kids TRUTH Campaign website at www.nebraskatruth.org.