VALLE VISTA – The words “fun” and “run” are rarely associated with each other, except when spoken with a sarcastic tone of voice. However, according to Hemet Unified School District officials, there is no better way to describe the recent family event “Fun Run with First Responders,” than to say it was “pure fun!”
The three-hour event was held at Valle Vista Elementary School, April 28. Not only was the event a great chance for students to meet some of their local first responders, it was the prefect opportunity for students who registered for the school’s first “100 Mile Club” to finish their personally-set mileage goals by the end of the school year.
The guests of honor were well represented by law enforcement and fire professionals from several local law enforcement and fire protection agencies. Those in attendance included Riverside Sheriff’s Captain Purvis and Deputy Loza from the department’s Hemet Station, Hemet PD’s Chief of Police Brown and Hemet Fire Department’s Chief Brown. Firefighters from Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire’s Valle Vista Station were also among first responders in attendance.
During the event students, family members and first responders got to set their own pace and were able to walk or run together in groups. Many participants were seen talking, laughing and joking while walking or jogging with friends – both new and old – from around the community. Others were seen encouraging their children towards reaching their 100 Mile Club goals.
One of the most exciting parts of the day for many of the children was getting to meet Deputy Loza and get “up close and personal” with him and his patrol vehicle. During the event, Deputy Loza brought his police cruiser onto the school grounds and left it open for children to climb in, touch and explore.
While some of the children took turns pushing the numerous interior buttons, turning on the overhead, red and blue flashing lights and moving the cruiser’s side-mounted spotlights, others could be seen sitting in the driver’s seat of the black and white – chasing imaginary “bad guys” from behind the wheel of the real police cruiser.
After the fun and very successful event, District officials thanked all those involved in organizing, supplying and hosting the run.
“The event wouldn’t have been such a wonderful success if it wasn’t for the help and support from local businesses and community members,” Hemet Unified School District Public Information Officer Alexandria Cass explained.
Among others who donated or brought supplies for the event was Rich Biber, community relations liaison for Physicians for Healthy Hospitals. Biber brought 20 cases of water donated by Hemet Hospital for those participating in the event. He also brought backpacks for every student who was registered in the 100 Mile Club.
Additionally, Winco donated a gift card so staff could purchase and provide bananas for all the runners.
“Every student should feel success”
The 100 mile club, which school teacher Kara Lubin created in her class room 24 years ago, issues students the straightforward challenge to run, jog or walk 100 miles over the course of the school year. Throughout the year, students log their miles during runs designated and organized by the participating schools.
New Valle Vista Principal Christine Ramirez, who is enjoying her fifteenth year as an educator, was excited to bring the 100 Mile Club to her newest students. Valle Vista was the fourth school Dr. Ramirez introduced the program to.
Dr. Ramirez has said she has witnessed first-hand the benefits students receive from participating in a long-term challenge; especially one that pushes children to exercise , stay healthy and strive for specific, personally-set, achievable goals.
Students who successfully complete their set goals get to look forward to an upcoming awards ceremony, where they will be honored and receive recognition for the miles they completed throughout the year.
Students who completed 25 miles will be receiving a 100 Mile Club T-shirt. Those who finish 50 miles will be receiving a golden pencil, 75 milers will receive a commemorative wristband and those who complete the full 100 mile goal will receive a “gold medal.”
Students will receive their awards and honors at the 100 Mile Club Awards Ceremony, which is scheduled to be held during an assembly at the school, Monday, May 15.
Due in large part to her students’ participation in programs such as the 100 Mile Club, Ramirez said she has seen “attendance scores go up, confidence levels increase, and the overall culture of a school increase.”
“Every student should feel success,” Ramirez explained on the District’s webpage. “Whether it’s academically, through the 100 Mile Club, or through another program we offer. I want our students to feel encouraged as they complete goals they have set for themselves.”