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Hamilton charity draws record crowd on Thanksgiving

The Young Lives 5K fundraiser drew a record crowd on Thanksgiving Day as the non-denominational ministry that provides help for teen moms or pregnant teens up to the age of 19 in the city managed to draw more than 300 people to its event.

The group has started a 5K fundraiser it hopes will become a Thanksgiving tradition. Last year, a 5K was organized and saw about 50 people participate. This year the event grew significantly.

“We had a great turnout … There were officially 360 runners and walkers. We raised just over $5,000 for our ministry,” said Mindee Callahan of Hamilton’s Young Lives. “A lot of the race volunteers were from The Village Church, one of the race sponsors. The Village Church allows us to use their space for our monthly meetings with the girls and their babies … One of the pastors, Michael Graham, ran the race with his children and the other pastor, Scott O’Donohoe, cheered on runners with his family as they passed through Highland Park.”

Current and previous Young Lives participants were present for the race. Two are now married and participated in the race with their families, according to Katie Powers, who helped start the 5k race in Hamilton.

“Thanks to the community of Hamilton and all of our race participants and volunteers for coming out to show support for the mission of Young Lives to care for teen moms,” Powers said. “… Our hearts are full. From competitive runners to families pushing strollers to first-time 5k’ers, we had all types come out for the second annual Thanksgiving Day 5k for Young Lives. It was truly a community-building event.”

Power added that Wilson Middle School was a perfect location for the event and that the fun continued after the race with turkey bowling, coloring for kids, and “amazing treats and prizes for top runners sponsored by local spots.

Young Lives started its Hamilton chapter in 2011. In their ministry, they have adult women who serve as mentors for pregnant or parenting teens in the community.

Callahan said the financial boost from the fundraiser goes a long way in helping the group provide assistance to the teen mothers.

“We use our funds to provide activities and supplies for our monthly meetings, special events, and to cover the cost of summer camp,” she said.

Powers said since the fiscal goal of the fundraiser was met this year, that means young girls and their mentors will be heading to camp.

“We met our goal,” she said. “We hoped to raise $5,000 to send girls, their babies and volunteer mentors to camp this summer, and we surpassed that goal by $50. We can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for next year.”

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