Doing Good and Having Fun
In the early weeks of December, most of the country is locked in snow and freezing, or below freezing, temperatures. It’s not really the kind of weather you want to get out and run a 5k in. Here in central Florida, however, the temperature tends to remain in the 70s and 80s well into the holiday season. That’s at least part of why the Boys Town Annual 5k Candy Cane Run continues to be such a success.
Every December, Boys Town Central Florida hosts a 5k to raise funds and accomplish their goals. Like any 5k, the organization invites anyone interested in participating to register for a small fee. After the 5k wraps up, there’s also a free kid’s fun run. And to make the entire event even more festive, Santa is at the finish line ready to greet and celebrate with all participants.
As with any successful marathon, the annual 5k Candy Cane Run ends in the presentation of race medals. It’s in these medals that Signature Coins enters the story. For five years, we’ve designed, created and delivered the medals to Boys Town, and we do it all free of charge.
Boys Town Revolutionizes Foster Care Through Community Building
Boys Town is an organization that’s been around for over 100 years. During that span of time, they’ve worked hard to revolutionize the way the world views and takes care of troubled and wayward children. The organization got its start in Omaha, Nebraska, and their primary location remains in the area. “Now, Boys Town, Nebraska, is its own little city. It’s got its own school system. It’s got its own police station, fire department, it’s its own little working town. They have 76 homes there now,” Tabitha Talbott, the Donor Relations Specialist with Boys Town Central Florida, explained to us.
The guiding principle that every child deserves to be valued and loved, and to live a healthy, positive life is the outlook that leads in everything the organization does. And the way they’ve gone about enacting those ideals is by creating their own brand of a foster care system. Boys Town isn’t an orphanage, and it isn’t a system in which everyday adults take on the role of foster parent for at risk children. It’s a community.
“We differ from the modern day foster care system in that we do family style. So, it’s not dormitory anymore, they’re actual houses that these kids live in. And they get the family that, pretty much, these kids have never had before,” Talbott said.
Where other foster family situations often consist of well vetted, but ultimately untrained adults, many of whom have their own children, full time jobs, and other responsibilities to contend with, Boys Town foster families consist of two parents whose sole concern and responsibility is to the children they’re taking care of. “How we differ from the rest of the foster community is that mom and dad, that’s their only job: to be mom and dad. They don’t have a regular nine to five like most parents do.” It’s this kind of singular and personalized experience that allows Boys Town to take on a lot of hard to work with, and abused children.
Where other organizations offer links and connections to external places you can go to get the help you need, Boys Town functions as an internal community, ensuring whatever their citizens need is available in-house. In addition to taking care of the families within their direct Boys Town community, they also offer services to the surrounding community. Everything from parental training to professional counselling are offered through Boys Town, and most of their services are provided free of charge. When asked about the act of going out into the community to provide these services, Talbott was quick to point out that, “We want to make sure that you don’t come and need our services, or that we don’t have your kids here. We would love it if no kids would ever have to come here, but unfortunately that’s not the reality. So, we will help you to keep your kids at home.”
The Beginnings of a Long Relationship
All of the services that Boys Town offers don’t come cheap. According to Talbott, it can cost upwards of $200 a day to keep one child healthy in the Boys Town system. As a nonprofit, a lot of their funds come from grants and government programs, but those funds are often earmarked for specific uses. One of the ways they’ve found to raise money themselves is through their annual Candy Cane 5k run.
Signature Coins was not always a part of the run. Originally, Boys Town took generic blank medals and added a sticker to them. It was five years ago that one of their board members suggested that they could do better and leveraged his personal connection with us to get custom medals created.
Since then, we’ve partnered with Boys Town to create and deliver their race medals each year. The proceeds from the run all go directly towards general care in taking care of the kids. It’s one of the places where you can directly see the impact of the money raised through the event.
It’s a pleasure for us to be able to create the medals used for the event and deliver them for free. With all of the money being raised going towards taking care of kids in need, not having to pay for the race medals creates the kind of savings that go a long way for Boys Town.
Moreover, the adults and the children participating in the run love the design of the medals. “Everybody loved them this year! I think this was the year we got the most responses on how amazing the medals were,” Talbott said.
We’ve been lucky over the years to get to work with a number of different nonprofit organizations to help them raise funds and get their message out into the world. Bringing a little extra cheer to needy children and partnering with an organization like Boys Town is the sort of thing we really appreciate being able to be a part of this time of year. We look forward to many more years and more fun runs with them.
If you’d like more information about Boys Town Central Florida, you can check out their website.