One night each year, Stewart Park is lit up with glowing participants for the Ithaca Glows Run, a fundraising event for Cornell Cooperative Extension.
A Q&A with Ray Weaver, event coordinator and Director of PEAKS, a local crowd funding resource sponsored by Cooperative Extension.
What do you do?
The Glow Run is a 3k and 5k fundraising event for Cooperative Extension that takes place at Stewart Park. It involves black lights, glow sticks, glow in the dark t-shirts, and any other glow gear that our runners bring to participate in.
Who is it good for?
The glow run is great for families, especially our 3k run which is perfect for young children and people with strollers. We’ve had individuals in wheelchairs before, and it’s also good for first-time runners who aren’t ready to do a 5k.
What change are you trying to make?
We are trying to raise awareness in the Tompkins County community to target populations that we (Cooperative Extension) don’t necessarily reach through our normal programming. That includes students specifically, and also younger audiences between 20 and 30.
What brought you here?
This event was actually brought on by the success we’ve seen with 5ks nationwide that have a specific theme to them. They’re really popular with the younger generation, especially high school and college demographics. So when we saw that people were doing color runs, obstacle runs, things like that, we decided to create our own event which is the Glow Run.
How does this impact our community?
It’s raising money for Cooperative Extension and raising awareness for Cooperative Extension. By bringing that money in we’re able to continue programs that we offer… many of our programs are offered at low-cost or no-cost, and this allows us to continue that.
What struggles have you encountered?
The biggest struggle that we encounter with organizing this event is that people don’t always understand that it’s a fundraising event. If they do understand it’s a fundraising event, they don’t necessarily know who Cooperative Extension is or who they’re supporting by doing this. We try to make it very clear what Cornell Cooperative Extension of Tompkins County is, what it is that we do, and how we benefit the community through our programs.
What inspires you, or what should we be celebrating?
I think what’s extremely inspirational for me is working for Cooperative Extension. When I first began, I worked for Way2Go which is a transportation education program. While working in that position I was able to see all the different non-profit organizations that we have here in Tompkins County, all the different communities that we have that we’re helping, what an extended reach we have, and all the different people and organizations that we can impact.
How can we take part?
People can get involved with Cooperative Extension by contacting us or going to our website and seeing all the various volunteer opportunities that we have. We’re always looking for people to come out and celebrate what we do by supporting the other events that we have.
Any final thoughts?
Go to PEAKS and donate to something! We have a couple campaigns going… find one that speaks to you and make a donation.
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