Paint by numbers
A colorful 5K brings in thousands of dollars for Missouri charities.
Story by Julie Saetre
Photos by Julie Smith
For the Jefferson City High School Key Club in Missouri, “color coordinated” takes on a whole new meaning. For the past three years, members have organized the Paint the People 5K as an annual fundraiser. Thanks to their efforts, hundreds of people have willingly run through a series of eight color stations, where they were blasted by colorful puffs of powder.
After runners travel through fields and woods, alongside a variety of water features (a creek, a lake, a pond) and through an old grain solo, they regroup at a staging area to sling more color into the air—and at each other.
“It was an absolutely amazing feeling to watch people from the community unite together while throwing up powder and smiling with their family,” says Hannah Kempker, a Key Club member who helped with promotion and social media for the 2017 event last month.
The club keeps entry fees low–US$15 for adults, $10 for kids ages six to 10. Similar events often charge $45-$60, explains co-club advisor Christopher Johnson.
“We choose to keep the cost low so that entire families are able to enjoy this kind of event and raise money for a worthy cause,” he says.
“We wanted to make the prices family friendly,” adds Kempker, “but we needed to raise enough money for our $10,000 donation goal. It all worked out and turned out to be a wonderful outcome.”
This year’s funds were donated to United Way of Central Missouri, also a past recipient.
“Through them, we have been able to get guest speakers from 28 agencies to come and speak to our group about who they are and the services that they provide,” Johnson says. “It has been an eye-opening experience for us (he and fellow co-advisor Shane Williams), as well as the Key Club members.”
Monies from the first two runs benefitted Helping Art Liberate Orphans and Kiwanis’ The Eliminate Project as well.
About 30 Jefferson City High School Key Club members and students worked throughout the year to organize the third-annual Paint the People, identifying new methods of promotion, choosing event-branded merchandise to sell and meeting with potential sponsors. Officers visited local television stations to spread the word on-air, while Kempker and fellow club members Caitlyn Miller and Hannah Sluyter communicated via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and the club’s website.
Summarizes Kempker, “The memories I made with my fellow Key Club members while planning this event are unforgettable.”