Ridgeites put their best feet forward on Sunday, April 26 at Harbor Fitness’ eighth annual Race for Autism, a 5k walk and run benefiting the HeartShare School and local children faced with disabilities.
“The proceeds from Harbor Fitness’ Race for Autism help support over 700 children at HeartShare’s four pre-schools and the HeartShare School,” explained HeartShare President and CEO Bill Guarinello. “HeartShare continues to respond to the needs of the community and to the increasing numbers of children, now one in 68 (some say one in 50), diagnosed with autism, by providing quality education and therapies.”
The four pre-schools, Guarinello said, cater to children ages three to five years while the HeartShare School serves children ages five through 21.
“We also work with community partners, like Harbor Fitness, to further each child’s opportunities through full participation in community life and we could not be more grateful for Harbor Fitness’ fundraising activities and programmatic support,” he went on. “Every one of their efforts has a direct and positive impact on the children’s progress.”
“We are very pleased with the turnout for this past Sunday’s Race for Autism,” said Jodi Heywood, group fitness manager at Harbor Fitness, stressing that, this year, the clubs raised more money than they ever have before. “We had more runners than previous years and had a lot of families join us for our family-friendly fun that day.
“[We are] very happy to be able to donate this to the HeartShare Schools,” she went on. “Harbor Fitness organizes this annual event during Autism Awareness Month to both raise awareness about autism but also to help a fellow Brooklyn-based organization. There are so many affected by autism in our area, and it is important to us to be able to support a local program that gives directly to people in our communities.”
The day included outdoor Zumba, a block party and a pee wee run for the kids. In the 5k, participants raced through neighborhood streets as well as the Fort Hamilton Army Base. The event was topped off by a Feats of Strength Competition led by Harbor’s Personal Training Department and, of course, raffles and awards.
Raffles were sold at all four Harbor locations leading up to the event.
Sponsors this year included TD Bank, Fort Funding, Starbucks, Empire Auto, Bergen Basin Realty, and Chiropractor Ray Bartoli.