Let’s Rock the Races!

Pete the PacificSource monkey modeling the free hat kids earn after participating in two races.

Pete the PacificSource monkey modeling the free hat kids earn after participating in two races.

This spring and summer, kids and seniors in Bend, OR have been busy walking, jogging and running through the PacificSource Rock the Races program. We’ve been giving away free entries to a series of kids’ fun runs and 5K races as a way to promote healthy lifestyles and we’ve had a great response so far! We kicked off the season early with the Little Snow Warriors Run at Winter Fest in February. Next, there was a great turn out at the Little Fry Run and 5K at the Salmon Run in early May. (Check out the pictures below.) And this holiday weekend, seniors and kids will be rocking the Happy Girls 5K and Happy Little Kids Run at Riverbend Park.

Inspired? Want to get involved? We’ll be giving away 50 kid registrations at three more fun runs and 25 senior registrations at two more 5K races. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for the registration code.

Kids Rock the Races Seniors Rock the Races
Little Snow Warriors at Winterfest: February 15 n/a
Little Fry Run at the Salmon Run: May 3 Salmon Run 5K: May 3
Happy Little Kids Run at Happy Girls Half Marathon, 10K & 5K: May 24 Happy Girls 5K: May 25
Little Hopper Root Beer Run at the Bite of Bend: June 28 Bite of Bend 5K: June 29
Balloon Blast at Balloons over Bend Children’s Festival: July 19 n/a
Kids Splash ‘n Dash at Deschutes Dash: July 27 Deschutes Dash 5K: July 27

 

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Bringing Veggie U to Boise: Soil, Sun, Veggies, and Fun!

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Mrs. Hoffman’s 3rd grade class.

I recently visited Mrs. Hoffman’s 3rd grade classroom at Hawthorne Elementary in Boise, ID. Why? I had to see the Veggie U program in action. Veggie U offers kits complete with seeds, soil, flats, root view boxes, grow lights, and even worm farms. These materials allow students to get hands-on experience with every stage of vegetable planting, growing, and harvesting.

In today’s class, the kids were exploring the “Scientific Process” by planting peas in their root viewers using four different kinds of dirt: compost, sand, field soil, and potting soil. It was great to see the kids describe the different soil types and say why they thought the pea seeds would grow better in a certain kind of soil. I think with a little bit of sunshine and water, these students are well on their way to growing their own vegetables and enjoying them too!

For the last few years, PacificSource has been out in our communities asking people to share their healthy ideas, try a healthy snack, or to get fit. Every time someone participates, PacificSource donates $1 on your behalf to Veggie U. We love Veggie U because students invest so much time and effort into cultivating these vegetables, they are more likely to eat them, and try other healthy foods.

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Check out the best part of Veggie U – the worm farm!

I would like to thank Mrs. Hoffman and her students for letting me come in and watch them plant their peas. I can’t wait to go back and see what soil type did a better job of growing the crop.

If you’d like to nominate a classroom in your area to receive a Veggie U kit, fill out this nomination form and tell us why your teacher/classroom would be a good fit for Veggie U. Here’s the form: Veggie U Nomination Form

Check out the rest of the photos from my visit to Mrs. Hoffman’s classroom in the gallery below.

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Riding with Northwest Association for Blind Athletes

IMG_6694Since I was blessed with decent vision, I take a lot of activities for granted. I can run, I can play sports, and despite my gangly legs and propensity for poor decision-making on the field, I can exercise without a second thought. I’m lucky. But until I met Billy Henry with the Northwest Association for Blind Athletes (NWABA), I didn’t realize just how fortunate I really am.

For those who are blind or visually impaired, living an active lifestyle comes with a lot of challenges. People who are visually impaired are often left out of sports with their peers, and lots of ordinary exercises pose obstacles if you can’t see well. That’s why Billy, the Executive Director of NWABA, works with schools, communities, and organizations to adapt a variety of sports to allow visually impaired people to participate. With NWABA, the same competition and exercise of these sports exists, they’re just subtly tweaked to take vision out of the equation. When we heard about NWABA’s mission, we were pretty darn inspired. So I asked Billy if there was a way we could support the cause. Billy’s response; “Have you ever ridden a tandem bicycle?”

IMG_0847Turns out, NWABA has a fleet of tandem bikes that they use to let visually impaired people ride with a volunteer on the front to guide. That way, they get the speed and exercise of a brisk bike ride without the danger. With Billy’s help, I recruited a few PacificSource volunteers to come ride with kids in Corvallis.

Thanks to my job, I get the chance to attend a lot of community events (all over the Northwest), but I can honestly say that this was the most enjoyable volunteering I’ve ever done. Here’s why:

1) The kids. We got to ride with some of the greatest kids I’ve ever met. These guys were upbeat, funny, outgoing, and so welcoming to a bunch of nervous volunteers (nervous, because we had no idea what to expect). Not to mention, they were absolutely fearless! I was so inspired by their willingness to talk about themselves as we pedaled through Corvallis. On all of my rides, I became great pals with my co-pilots.

2) The volunteers. Along with the PacificSource volunteers, there were teachers, family members, and a bunch of other kind-hearted riders on hand. Most of them had a much better understanding of visual impairments than we did, and all of them were willing to take the time to introduce to the kids, prepare us for the ride, and eliminate any fears we had of steering our kids into danger (I’m not going to lie, I was terrified of a crash and burn).

3) It was way, way fun! Plain and simple, we got to spend a couple of hours riding bikes with kids in Corvallis. That’s an awesome way to spend an afternoon.

I got to ride with Zach, Jacob, and Alex, all of whom were machines on the back of my bike! We raced other pairs, screamed under a covered bridge, and had an absolute blast. I’m sure the kids had fun, but I can almost guarantee I had a better time than anyone.

To Billy and everyone else at NWABA, thank you. I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed the experience. We learned a ton about these kids, and they’re some of the bravest people I’ve ever met. Considering NWABA provides sports for people throughout the Northwest, these bike rides are only a drop in bucket. These programs are phenomenal, and I can’t wait to support their organization again. To learn more about NWABA, or to support their cause, check out their website: http://nwaba.org/

Here are some snapshots from our day in Corvallis:

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Related Post: Cycling for Oregon Supported Living Program