Race for Kate’s Place

Grab some comfortable sneakers and head to Laurel Acres Park in Mt. Laurel on Sunday, Sept. 23 to raise awareness through a 5K run for an area nonprofit organization.

Kate’s Place, created in Oct. 2007 by executive director JoAnn McNamee, helps developmentally delayed teens and adults socialize and interact with each other in safe environment.

Close to 100 people are expected to attend the race, which begins at 8:30 a.m. in the park rain or shine.

All proceeds will benefit Kate’s Place, which is currently being held at the First United Methodist Church in nearby Moorestown.

“It’s a great thing,” said Laura Skolozdra, race director and president of the Board of Trustees for Kate’s Place. “Because we’re nonprofit, fundraising is what keeps our doors open.”

Registration for the third annual 5K run or 1-mile walk will begin at 7:30 a.m., but pre-registration is recommended.

T-shirts will be given out to the first 100 pre-registrants, and the entry fee is $20.

Without the program, said Skolozdra, the young adults would have no other social activities.

“There’s no place for them to go (otherwise),” she said. “These young adults are just so overlooked in society.”

The program began with a handful of young adults, but has expanded to more than 20 in regular attendance during the weeks.

“They can hang out with their friends,” she said.

From baseball games to prom to karate lessons, to movies, games, crafts and other activities, there is never a dull moment, she explained.

“They just love being together,” she said. “Love it.”

On race day, the Mt. Laurel Striders will be on hand to help out.

Trophies will be given to the overall man and woman winners as well as awards to the top finishers in a number of age groups.

The age categories will be 13 and under, 14 to 19, 20 to 29, 30 to 39, 40 to 49, 50 to 59, 60 and over and Masters.

There will also be a one-mile walking course and the race will be self-contained in the park.

Refreshments, including bagels and fruit, will be served after the race and those who register on the day of the race will receive T-shirts as long as supplies last.

McNamee’s daughter, Katie, was the inspiration to begin the organization, explained Skolozdra. Katie has Down syndrome and had finished school. Rather than have her sit at home during the days, she came up with the program idea.

According to their website, the program currently takes place on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., but may expand to more days in the future.

“They have so much fun,” said Skolozdra. “It’s just a great place.”

More information

Laurel Acres Park is located at 1045 South Church St., Mt. Laurel.

Pre-registration forms, entry fees or tax-deductible donations can be made payable to Kate’s Place, Inc., PO Box 771, Moorestown, N.J. 08057.

Call (609) 694–5949 or visit www.kates-place-nj.org for more information.