By Sherrie Norris
Mark your calendars now for Saturday, April 22, as a great day to help meet the needs of foster children in Watauga County while having a good time doing so.
Thanks to the efforts of App State’s chapter of the Order of Omega Honorary Society, the inaugural 5K for The Kids will take place in Boone from 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Greenway, 244 Intramural Field off State Farm Road.
Speaking for the society, Vice-president Kasey Clift shared, “Order of Omega is an honors and leadership society for members of fraternity and sorority life. We have chosen Watauga County Department of Social Services as our philanthropy partner, and we are so excited to host our first-ever 5K walk/run race for their foster care program.”
The agency, as a whole, is dedicated to helping citizens (in need) to meet their basic financial and social needs; to providing a safety net for children, the disabled, the elderly, and the poor; to maintaining the integrity of families; and to helping individuals become self–sufficient.
“We are thrilled that the Order of Omega has reached out to partner with us,” said Jessica Hunter, Licensing & Adoptions Social Worker with Watauga County DSS. “They have offered to help with fundraising, as well as sharing the need for foster parents in our county.”
Proceeds from the event, minus the costs of T-shirts and related expenses incurred by the host group, will be donated to DSS to help pay for summer camp for kids in foster care, as well as medical and dental bills not covered by Medicaid, the purchase of car seats, gas for parents to attend visits/appointments, and similar necessities.
Hunter added that this is the first year for the partnership between DSS and Order of Omega.
According to Sam Lopez, Assistant Director of Campus Activities/Fraternity & Sorority Life, the organization reestablished itself in Fall 2022 to help enhance the leadership experiences within the fraternity and sorority life community.
“The organization has committed their philanthropic efforts with DSS, specifically working with the foster/adoption system in the future to ensure that AppState — and the fraternity and sorority life community — are understanding the importance of the work that the DSS does within Watauga County.”
The Order of Omega plans to volunteer with DSS for future events, providing support through:
*Raising donations for the foster care funds to cover items and opportunities that are not normally covered, including summer camp, specialized therapies, equipment not covered by Medicaid, gas for clients, etc.
*Volunteers to provide childcare for kids when DSS hosts foster parent nights out or special events/trainings
*Volunteers to help set up, participate and break down before and after events; such as annual parties: serving food, helping with games, taking photos, cleanup, etc.
* Donations or purchased items on the designated Amazon wish list, (linked on the agency’s FB page): https://www.facebook.com/wataugafosteradopt
*Putting up signs and sharing the need for foster parents.
For the upcoming 5K, early registration was held through the month of March, however, spots are still available for $30 registration fee; T-shirts will be available for purchase at the event for $8.
Check-in and registration will be from 8:45 a.m. – 9 a.m. Opening ceremonies will kick things off, with the race starting immediately thereafter. Additional donations will be welcomed at the event.
For registration and details:
Watauga County is always in need of foster parents, and offers trainings throughout the year, said Hunter. To learn more, visit watgov.org/fosterhelp, visit the agency’s Facebook page, call Hunter at 828-265-8100 or email her [email protected].
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