When you help others, you can live forever in their memories. But when you create an organization dedicated to helping strangers, you can live on in the hearts of those you’ve never even met.
That’s what many witnessed at the 5k by NextGen Mentoring, held in honor of their founder Wanda Rogers, who passed away recently due to cancer. This event was the first of what the organizers hope will be an annual event. Their first 5k had 25 5k runners and 16 one-mile runner/walkers.
The top three runners in the one-mile, all cousins, were: David Smith, Ammon Asay and Evelyn Smith.
For the 5k winners, the top three were Lincoln Smith (Wanda’s grandson), Bracken Smith (Wanda’s grandson) and McKay Smith (Wanda’s son-in-law). With a time of 18 minutes and 20 seconds, medal in-hand, 15-year-old Lincoln Smith was eager to let us know, “I did it for my grandma.”
The love for this organization and their founder Wanda was clear everywhere you looked, and everyone there seemed to have been touched by this pillar of the community.
NextGen Mentoring helps children from the ages of 8-to-18. The age was dropped from 10 to 8 years-old this June, “in the hopes of serving and changing the lives of more youth in our community” according to Bethany Shidler, their Program Director.
NextGen Mentoring assists the youth in our community by mentoring children one-on-one who have a disability or are at-risk. Their goal is their slogan “empowering youth for the future”, children are the future and by helping those who need it most by empowering them to be their best and feel good about themselves and their community, we are sure to have a bright one.
The 5k raised $622 from the race and a donation made by Lynn Kirkbride of $1000 in honor of Wanda.