5/10K Will Rogers Race Foundation Members Thanked

Will Rogers Race Foundation members Mike Solum (left) and Jimmy Klein (center) presented a check to Bill Skinner, an Optimist Club representative.

Special guests at the March 19 Optimist Club Meeting were Palisades Will Rogers 5/10K Run Foundation members Jimmy Klein and Mike Solum.

Annually members of the foundation, which was formed in 2014, work as volunteers to host the Fourth of July race that takes place in the early morning on the Fourth of July in Pacific Palisades. The route starts by the Palisades Library, goes through the Huntington Palisades onto Sunset – and for some runners goes through Will Rogers Historic Park – before ending back at the library.

After all expenses are paid for timing, set up, shirts and permits, money is donated to the Optimist Club, which then awards grants to youth programs.

“The more we make, the more we can pass on to you guys,” Solum and Klein told Optimists. “Although the cost of running the race has gone up in past years, anything extra goes back to the community.”

Klein would like to get the word out so that the people running the race understand that they are actually supporting the community when they register.

All local nonprofits that focus on youth are encouraged to fill out a grant application, through the Optimist Club. The applications are vetted by members of the club, a process that is occurring now, and then awards are made (look for a future story).

Optimist Home CEO Todd Sosna thanked the race foundation for the financial help.

Annually, money has also been donated to the Optimist Youth Home that serves 1,000 kids, from infancy to 25. Todd Sosna, the Optimist Youth Home CEO, was at the meeting to thank Klein and Solum. He said, “You guys make a difference and have for many years.”

He told the audience that too many kids in foster care, when they hit 18, are pushed out on the street. Sosna said if people look at their own 18-year-olds, they know most kids are not ready for adulthood at that age.

“They end up becoming homeless because they don’t have the skills to survive, yet,” he said, and then showcased a film of two of the kids, who had been in foster care, who were now living at the home and thriving. They were finishing their education, one to become a nurse, another to complete community college.

Sosna told Solum and Klein that with last year’s grant they were able to repurpose the laundry room at the youth home that their young adults use. https://www.oyhfs.org/

Also, one of last year’s grant recipients, the Palisades-Malibu YMCA was on hand to thank Solum and Klein.

Executive Director Jim Kirtley and Teen Program Director Jaylen Lacy said last year’s grant allowed the Y to give free teen summer memberships.

“We let the kids know they have a place to go, that our doors are open,” Lacy said.

YMCA’s Jim Kirtley (left) and Jaylen Lacy thanked the Will Rogers Race Foundation for the grant they received last year.

Signs up for the Will Rogers 5/10K can be done at click here.

Not only are you having fun at the race and running for your health, but you are also helping local nonprofits that support youth – it’s a win, win, win.

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One Response to 5/10K Will Rogers Race Foundation Members Thanked

  1. Sam Lagana says:

    Huzzah to these fine people who dedicate much time and energy – especially early in the morning to make the 5/10k special for so many!

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