Kiwanis to hold 25th Walk-A-Thon

The Kiwanis Community Walk-A-Thon has reached the quarter century mark of service to our community this year.

During the past 25 years, the Kiwanis Walk-A-Thon has raised approximately $500,000 for our children and local schools.

This year’s Walk-A-Thon is set for Saturday, Sept. 29 at 8 a.m. at LeRoy Jackson Park.

The motto for the Walk-A-Thon is “Miles for Smiles.” Some 75 percent of the net proceeds from the Walk-A-Thon go directly to the local schools that support the program. The remaining 25 percent of the net proceeds go to youth service programs of the Kiwanis Club of Ridgecrest.

The students in the Walk-A-Thon compete for prizes based on how much money they raise, with different prizes awarded for getting donations totaling $50, $75 or $100. In addition, prizes are awarded for the top five earning students at each participating school and prizes for the top five earning students in the school district. All students who complete the walk also receive prizes when they cross the finish line.

Last year’s Walk-A-Thon raised more than $27,500 for our schools and Kiwanis youth service projects. The proceeds from the Walk-A-Thon represent more than $1 for every man, woman and child in the city of Ridgecrest.

More than 250 children participate annually in the two-and-a-half-mile walk, which features children of all ages marching in a group through Jackson Park and designated city streets.

Many of the children carry balloons that have been given to them by Key Club members.

The five check points along the route are staffed by volunteers from the Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts, Key Club and other youth service organizations that provide water for the walkers.

Safety is provided by the Police Explorer Scouts, the Amateur Radio Club and the Ridgecrest Police Department.

Walk-A-Thon Chairman Dean Elliot described the Kiwanis project as “a wonderful event that brings people together to serve their schools and community.”

The schools compete to see which earned the most money, with each school receiving a proportionate share of what its students raised in contributions. The top school gets a plaque and is listed for that year on a perpetual plaque.

Local businesses also contribute, and the top business contributor gets an individual plaque and is listed on a perpetual plaque as well. The business contributions help defray some of the expenses of the Walk-A-Thon, such as the costs of printing and prizes.

“The Kiwanis Walk-A-Thon gets students involved in community service, provides needed funding for our schools, brings different community groups together to participate in the project and has a positive impact on the community,” said a spokesperson

The local Kiwanis Club recently received recognition for the Walk-A-Thon, which was named the No. 1 fundraising project in all of Kiwanis Division 38, which in-cludes Kiwanis clubs in Lancaster, Palmdale, Victorville, Apple Valley, Phelan and Barstow.

For more information about the Walk-A-Thon, call Walk-A-Thon Chairman Dean Elliot at 760-375-4623 or Virginia Henry at 760-377-0010.

Story First Published: 2012-08-29