More than 100 area children helped raise $7,000 at the May 8 Spirit Challenge running race to benefit, in part, their own educations.
The annual race -- this one was the 19th -- was held in Strawberry Park and is sponsored by the Legacy Education Foundation, a local organization that provides funds to help area schools with experiential and place-based educational programs.
Marcia Martin, a board member with the Legacy Education Foundation, said nearly 200 people participated in this year's race and walkathon. The event grossed more than $8,000, and likely will net in excess of $7,000.
About 130 of the participants were children who collected pledges for each lap of the Steamboat Springs Middle School track they walked. More than 50 adult racers competed in the Spirit Challenge's 5K and 10K races. Registration fees and T-shirt sales also benefited the Legacy Education Foundation.
The nearly two decades-old race always has focused on providing funds to area programs, Martin said, beginning with its origins as the Schwall Challenge, named after an elementary school teacher who died unexpectedly. The race eventually was renamed the Spirit Challenge, and with the name change came a focus exclusive to education.
"It's always been students getting pledges for the amount they walk," Martin said. "It completely funds our mini-grants program."
The Legacy Education Foundation encourages Routt County educators to apply for up to $600 in mini-grant funds for programs that use experiential and place-based education to help children gain a sense of place and respect for the Yampa Valley. Teachers also can apply for larger grants of up to $2,500.
Applications, which are available at www.yampavalleylegacy.org, are due by Aug. 1 for the fall funding cycle and by Jan. 20 for the spring funding cycle.
Recent education programs and projects fully or partially funded by the Legacy Education Foundation include Critter Control, mini-society projects at Hayden Valley Elementary School, the South Routt Literacy Carnival, the Yampa River Ecology Project and a performance of "Cinderella" by Steamboat Springs Middle School students.