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PHOTOS: Hundreds Run Down The Streets Of Kingsville In Tutus

Saturday May 30th, 2015, 1:45pm


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Prior to the 2K2KTutu bike/run/walk, a group of mascots raced to the starting line.

Crowds of people in rainbow colored tulle raced down the streets of Kingsville this morning for the first ever 2K2KTutu bike/run.

Put on to raise money for Access County Community Support Services in partnership with their bike program Bike Smart, the bike/run’s unique signature came from what seems to be an old tradition in other runs.

“We all started brainstorming of a fundraising idea for Access and I always had the idea of doing a running event and also incorporating biking as well because we have a bike store on site, so we were like ‘how can we make this fun?’,” said Rui Gerardo, Bike Smart coordinator. “Sometimes when you do go to see runs, you do see one or two people wearing a tutu and I thought ‘how cool would it be if everyone was wearing a tutu, and they were all a different color,’ I wanted it to be a really colorful event.”

Access began in 1994 under the name Youth and Family Resource of Essex County and changed their name in 2013. They are a non-profit organization in Kingsville with a number of after school programs as well as community gardens, the bike store and resources for adults who may be at risk of homelessness to find housing.

“We didn’t think we would even get 200 people and the fact that we got above that, it’s just awesome to see,” said Gerardo. “We actually ran out of tutus and t-shirts … it’s really neat to see everybody just get it together and doing something together as a community.”

Gerardo became a part of Bike Smart when he was looking for a teaching job. Initially, he began in the afterschool program, helping kids with their homework, playing games and teaching them about nutrition. Now he’s mentoring teenagers through the Bike Smart program which helps high-school-aged students earn credits, volunteer hours and teaches them real-life skills such as customer service, working on bikes, how to run a small business and even how to input business information into programs like Excel.

April Totten gathered a group of 29 participants to join her in the run. She said she was just so excited, she posted on Facebook numerous times and got a great response from her family and friends.

“My kids go [to Access], I went as a kid and we need more of them around for longer,” said Totten.

Even those who didn’t necessarily utilize the services offered by Access themselves found a way to the race. Lisa Kartye said she just wanted to give back to them because they have given so much to the community.

“I don’t think people realize what is available to them here,” said Kartye. “I think if we get the awareness out there, it might promote more healthy attitudes.”

Programs like Access run and fund programs assisting and building youth to become strong leaders in the community, which in turn benefits the community and allows people from an array of organizations and walks of life to come together in a similar way for a common purpose.

“I think it’s great just seeing not only the people involved in it that are doing it but he businesses who sponsored us, they really came together and made it happen,” said Gerardo. “It’s cool to see the community, everybody just come together and make this a success.”

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