The REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley (RAFV) entered into a sponsorship of the Summer Running Club at the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) of Elgin back in May, 2016.
“We asked what the BGC needed most from our partnership, and the answer, surprisingly, was SHOES. The kids in the club needed shoes. They would often run barefoot or not participate at all because they did not own the appropriate footwear,” said Betty Ebert-Rylko, President-Elect and co-chairperson of the Community Outreach Committee for REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley.
RAFV members began collecting new and gently used athletic shoes and delivered over 200 pairs of donated shoes to the club the first week of June. RAFV not only sponsored the club by providing shoes, but they also awarded prizes such as wrist bands, water bottles and t-shirts to the kids when they reached different milestones in the club. RAFV also pledged to reward the “high achievers” of the club with a shopping trip with RAFV to pick out their very own NEW pair of shoes if they could run a 5K by the end of the summer.
The Running Club was a huge success. Attendance at Running Club nearly DOUBLED this year with 121 children participating. This number is up from 52 participants.
Collectively, the club ran a total of 465 miles this summer with all 121 participants running at least one mile and half the participants running at least 2 miles.
This program began as an initiative of the Community Outreach Committee. The success of the shoe donation drive inspired other RAFV members to get involved and offer more help. The Affiliate Committee contributed a portion of the proceeds earned from the REALTOR® OPEN Golf Outing to help purchase the new shoes. Members also visited the Boys & Girls Clubs during running practices and held shoe sorting “parties” where they would get together to clean the shoes and sort them by size.
There were 11 children who achieved this incredible milestone and went shopping with RAFV on Friday, August 26, 2016 to select their brand-new shoes. DICK’S Sporting Goods in Geneva graciously agreed to host the event and provided personal shoppers for the kids as well as discounts on shoes and Gatorade for the thirsty shoppers. “We are happy to help and are honored to be selected as the shopping destination for this wonderful program for the Boys and Girls Club of Elgin,” said Brian Dibbert, Community Marketing Manger, DICK’S Sporting Goods.
“The Boys and Girls Partnership has been an incredibly rewarding experience for the REALTOR® Association of the Fox Valley. All of our members have rallied to help these kids. Whether they donated shoes, attended the golf outing, or volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club cheering on the runners, it has become a way for everyone to work together towards a common goal.” explained RAFV President, Barb Schori.