Local youth groups run for God

Nativity parish former youth group participant, Jackie Kenney, runs for God to help the youth group that sent her and her siblings to mission trips in years past. (ANDREA NAVARRO)

It was a race to serve others at the 10th annual Run for God on Saturday, March 31, and Nativity Catholic Church in Longwood won the grand prize before even reaching the starting line. As part of their Church Challenge, the 5K race awards a scholarship of $1,000 to the church with the most participants to support youth mission trips. This year, Nativity Catholic Church came in the lead with 137 registered runners. The parish’s youth group will use the funds to support their mission trip to Knoxville, TN with Catholic HEART Workcamp this June.

“We have been participating in the Run for God since 2012 and we have won the Church Challenge by being the church with the most participants for the past four years,” said youth and young adult ministry coordinator Jennifer Chellberg. “We have some serious runners who come out and run and finish in the top 10 and then we have parishioners who just come to enjoy the fresh air and walk the whole thing. It’s just a great way to kick off the Easter weekend, spending time with parishioners, family, and friends, getting some exercise, and knowing that all the money is going to a good cause.”

In addition to the grand prize scholarship, Run for God also awards $10 to each participant after the first 10, helping the youth group at All Souls Parish in Sanford raise $370 as third-place winners. The money will go towards their summer mission trip this July.

“The race is an amazing gift,” said youth minister Michelle Murphy, who has participated in the race with the youth group for the past three years. The teens are also raising funds by hosting a Daddy Daughter Dance, catering weddings and other dinners at the parish and organizing a breakfast with Santa.

By Elizabeth Wilson, Florida Catholic Correspondent – April 3, 2018