Wayside Youth & Family Services Supporting Youth During COVID; Seeks Community Support with Virtual 5K4Kids Event

Wayside Youth & Family Services Supporting Youth During COVID; Seeks Community Support with Virtual 5K4Kids Event

This article originally appeared in the Source on Oct. 5, 2020

FRAMINGHAM – The 11th annual 5k4kids fundraising event by Wayside Youth and Family Services will be held virtually the week of October 10th to 17th. Registration is a $10 donation or $17 with a T-shirt included. The deadline to register is October 16. All proceeds go back to the Wayside youth and families to provide extra services.

In past years, the 5k4kids has consisted of a 5K run or walk, Halloween festival, and a grand prize raffle drawing of $5,000 travel voucher, of the winner’s choice. This year, with the global pandemic, Wayside has reimagined the event to ensure the safety of all participants.

Participants should register online and join a team. The virtual 5k will occur during the week of October 10th and anyone can complete the 5k in those 7 days. To track routes and time, the 5k will use an app called It’s Your Race mobile app.

Nick Kane, Wayside Youth and Family Services development manager, explained that the virtual fundraiser has “ allowed us to make it a more inclusive event.”

Not only has Wayside been able to lower the prices of registration, they can also “draw a wider and more diverse audience.”

This year, 2020, is the 11th annual event, and “the goal is to raise 100,000 dollars” Kane said. “If we are able to raise 100,000 dollars that would mean in 11 years we’ve raised just over a million dollars.”

“The continued success of this event,” Kane said, “is due largely in part to our staff who have such a strong commitment to being advocates for the kids and their families that they work with everyday, and being a part of an agency that’s committed to being an agent of change.”

The event is sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank, the platinum sponsor, and other local businesses and organizations.

Wayside Youth and Family Services works within its own agency “to become an inclusive organization” and to “create an equity continuum as a model of change.” Wayside also trains and consults other organizations on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and anti-racist work.

Kane said the DEI initiative ““started back in 2015/2016 and it has really continued through our work.”

“Since the pandemic our residential programs have remained open,” Kane said “at limited capacity, with our staff who have been fully enthusiastic and abiding by PPE and social distancing guidelines.”

At first, in-home therapy was held through telehealth, but Wayside has recently returned to in person visits.

In Framingham, Wayside has opened a COVID quarantine youth unit, where they can house up to 10 youth who can be with us for 14 days. The quarantine unit is intended for youth who have “unknown statuses and are awaiting their test results.” Currently, this is the only quarantine unit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Wayside also received a number of emergency grants from local foundations, such as Foundation for MetroWest, MetroWest Health Foundation, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, The Sudbury Foundation, Greater Lowell Community Foundation, Eversource Energy Charitable Foundation, CHNA 6, and CHNA 7.

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Betsy Freedman Doherty
Director of Communications & Development
[email protected]
Office: 508-469-3231

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