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The City Journals

Locals support 5k run to reduce bullying

Mar 31, 2017 09:35AM ● By Alisha Soeken

Natalivilla Gomez & Citlali Cardenas volunteer at the Race to Reduce Bullying. (Alisha Soeken/City Journals)

By Alisha Soeken | [email protected]

Play is important.

Theresa Dellomo, program and development associate of Playworks thinks it is not only important, but vital at school.

“At recess children aren’t just being physically active, they are also learning incredible life lessons like how to work together and resolve conflicts,” she said.  

Playworks is a national nonprofit organization that serves more than 900 schools in 23 cities in the United States, reaching more than half a million students.

“Playworks uses the power of play to transform children’s social and emotional health. We are changing school culture by leveraging the power of safe, fun and healthy play at school every day. We create a place for every kid on the playground to feel included, be active, and build valuable skills,” Dellomo said.

The Playworks program has been proven to reduce bullying by an average of 43 percent. In an effort to continue that benefit, Playworks held its 6th annual Race to Reduce Bullying 5k and Fun Run. On March 11, 500 hundred runners, walkers, parents with strollers and volunteers came to Wheeler Historic Farm in Murray to raise money to stamp out bullying in Utah schools, Dellomo reported.

That’s an effort teacher Melisa Lindholm appreciates.

“Bullying is a problem in schools because students have a hard time learning when they don’t feel safe. If a child is worried about what will happen when they see the bully, then the child definitely isn’t thinking about what the teacher is saying or how to do their assignments,” she said.

Kearns High School student Natalivilla Gomez came to Playworks Fun Run and understands firsthand the need to stop bullying.

“I think this run is great because I personally have experienced bullying. I wanted to sign up for this because it’s a good cause. No one likes bullying. I’ve gone through it and I know what it feels like. I want to put an end to it,” Gomez said.

Citlali Cardenas agreed with Gomez. Cardenas and Gomez are friends and students at Kearns High. They held a sign at the starting line to cheer on runners.

“We are excited to be here. We’re in a group called LIA, Latinos In Action, and this is part of our service. This is a really great cause because there has to be a stop to bullying,” Cardenas said.

Chad and Kashlee Fraser agree. They came to run in the 5k with sons Ashton and Ayden Howick.

“We are here to support the fight against bullying. We have five kids and have frequent talks about not being bullies and standing up for people who are bullied,” Kashlee said.

“And it’s a beautiful day,” Chad added. “We wanted to get out with our family. It’s good that people get out and show their support.”

Because of the support of Chad and his family, Cardenas, Gomez and hundreds of others, Playworks Race to Reduce Bullying raised nearly $10,000 and helped bring awareness of bullying prevention programs to the community.