Peninsula Clarion file
Participants in the 2019 Stomp Out Stigma Color Run make their way through a haze of pink chalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Sept. 28, 2019.

Peninsula Clarion file Participants in the 2019 Stomp Out Stigma Color Run make their way through a haze of pink chalk at Soldotna Creek Park on Sept. 28, 2019.

Color run set for Kenai Middle School

A color run will be held at Kenai Middle School this weekend, hosted in partnership between the KMS Sources of Strength and Change 4 the Kenai. The event will feature prizes, food, music and, of course, colorful powder being thrown at race participants.

Shari Conner, a clinic manager for behavioral health at Change 4 the Kenai, described the event as “for everyone, all ages. We want to see everyone come and support our schools and support our students and just come have fun. Get some color on you.”

The race starts at noon Saturday, beginning at KMS. Registration starts at 11:30 a.m., and there is a link for online registration at Change 4 the Kenai’s Facebook page.

The course will follow the walking path by the Kenai Spur Highway before looping down Lawton Drive to return to the middle school. Along the way participants will be covered in the traditional nontoxic color powder.

After the race, there will be a barbecue with hamburgers and hot dogs, as well as an array of tables offering information and prizes until 3 p.m. The first 200 participants to register will receive a free T-shirt.

The color run is being held to promote fun and healthy activity in the community, according to Conner. She said Change 4 the Kenai is a prevention coalition, so “working to have a healthier community and having healthy, family fun activities is one way of doing that.”

Change 4 the Kenai is a nonprofit organization that primarily focuses on combating drug addiction through education and promoting connection in the community.

The event celebrates the start of the school year and is intended to provide insight into resilience building and Sources of Strength.

Sources of Strength is a nationwide movement that began in North Dakota in 1998, first in rural communities and Northern Plains tribes, according to their website. It is focused on suicide prevention, but also deals with substance abuse and violence.

“It basically tries to tap into the strengths of individuals,” Conner said. “It’s a really positive program for youth leadership and for recognizing those who are struggling.”

The organization has spread around the nation since its founding in the 1990s. Conner said Change 4 the Kenai first started working with them in 2018, and that the organization has been working with schools in Alaska and in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District since the mid-2010s.

Sources of Strength programs are being run at both middle and high schools around the school district.

Conner said the color run is only the first public event being held this year in collaboration with the program.

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com

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