Saturday, September 5, 2015

Rick's Run for Kids Host Committee members share why this event is so special

The inaugural Rick's Run for Kids, held in November 2014, drew over 400 runners and walkers of all ages and raised $6,000 for Rec & Ed's youth scholarship program. 

To build on last year's success, Rec & Ed formed a volunteer Host Committee of community members, school district staff and Rick's family members to help support the 2015 Rick's Run for Kids

Host Committee Members
Jenna Bacolor - Executive Director of Community Education & Recreation 
Lisa Cope - AAPS Physical Education and Health Department Chair and Teacher
Christine Drago - Rec & Ed Business Sponsorship Coordinator 
Tom George - Professor, University of Michigan School of Kineseology  
Mary Jo Gray - Member, Recreation Advisory Commission
Angela Johnson - Member, Recreation Advisory Commission
Michael Johnson - AAPS Principal at Carpenter Elementary School
Katie Lewit - AAPS PE Teacher and Vice-President, Recreation Advisory Commission 
Glenn Nelson - Retired Trustee, AAPS Board of Education 
Sean Williams - Race Director and Rec & Ed Supervisor 

Honorary Members
Felicia Brabek - Washtenaw County Commissioner
Che Carter - Principal, Clague Middle School 
Julie Grand - Ann Arbor City Council member 
Michelle Hart - Rick's family member 
Laura Kokkales - Rick's family member 
Kathy Scarnecchia - Principal, Haisley Elementary School  
Dr. Jeanice K. Swift - Superintendent, Ann Arbor Public Schools
Ron Warhurst - Rick's family member

Host Committee members are busy approaching local business about becoming event sponsors and getting the word out about the event, to be held on October 24, 9:00 a.m., at Gallup Park. However, several were happy to take some time out to tell us why this event means so much to them. 


One of Rick's passions was kids' fitness and health. He was committed to getting as many students as possible to participate in recreational sports, whether they could afford it or not. Many times he used money out of his own pocket to help kids participate. Rick's Run will help to continue Rick's commitment to his "kids" through Rec and Ed Scholarships. I know Rick's spirit is with us as we plan this run to honor him.
                             -- Michelle Hart, AAPS staff person and Rick's longtime partner  


A lesson I learned from Rick: "The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones who hold the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones who care." Rick was one of those teachers who helped students journey through their school years. Rick was one of those friends who helped you through difficult times, taught you something worthwhile, and made you feel appreciated and special.  
         -- Lisa Cope, AAPS Physical Education and Health Dept. Chair and PE Teacher   


The inaugural Rick's Run in 2014 was an inspiring event. Hundreds of us joined together to support more opportunities for low income families while having a great time. It was just the right way to honor Rick Dekeon.
              -- Glenn Nelson, Former trustee, AAPS Board of Education


Tom George, Glenn Nelson and Mary Jo Gray 
Rick cared deeply about the health and well-being of young people, and his dedication to active living had a profound and lasting impact on many people in the Ann Arbor area.           
              -- Tom George, Professor, UM School of Kinesiology and former member of the Recreation Advisory Commission

I joined the Host Committee because I wanted to do something concrete that could positively affect children. Also, I ran in the race last year, and had a great time. I'd like people who run this year to feel the same, and would like the race to benefit even more people than last year. 
          --Mary Jo Gray, Member, Recreation Advisory Commission

Rick was a long-time friend and colleague of mine. We started our careers together as AAPS physical education teachers in the late 1980s.  As a friend of Rick's, a physical educator, and a member of the Recreation Advisory Committee, being involved in Rick's Run 4 Kids is a easy choice for me.  Rick's passion to provide opportunities for all youth to participate in physical activity was infectious; it is a pleasure to carry on Rick's work and honor his memory through this event!
        --Katie Lewit, RAC Vice-Chairperson and AAPS Physical Education Teacher

Rick was a loyal and dedicated friend to so many people.  He spent his career offering his students a variety of opportunities to become healthy, happy and confident through Physical Education.  I am honored to assist in this event which honors his legacy in Ann Arbor Public Schools.
         -- Kathy Scarnecchia, Principal at Haisley Elementary, Rick's colleague  
Sophia Scarnecchia, Kathy Scarnecchia, Michelle Hart
and Hyeo Park 
at Rick's Run for Kids 2014
We never stop thinking about Rick and his contributions made to the academic community but mostly for his fun loving spirit that he continued to share with us always.  He was nothing short of being genuine always sharing his smile with everyone! 
                     -- Laura Kokkales, Family member of Rick Dekeon

I first heard of Rick's Run during a Recreation Advisory Committee meeting. Though I never knew Rick personally I've heard many stories of his accomplishments and his passion for the betterment of youth through positive and enriching community programming. Sharing this passion, I joined the Rick's Run Host Committee to honor Rick's memory and continue the united effort to provide Rec & Ed programming to as many youth as possible. 
                    -- Angela Johnson, Member, Recreation Advisory Commission



The Host Committee hopes that you'll participate, donate, volunteer or sponsor Rick's Run for Kids! Click here for more information and to sign up. 

Please help us spread the word about this family-friendly event through your social media and other networks. 

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