By Amanda Hatfield
BREVARD -- With the reality of school closures and major budget cuts, a dedicated group of volunteers has come up with a creative way to raise money for their children's school.
The Parent Teacher Organization at Gemini Elementary School, in partnership with the Melbourne Beach Rotary Club, will be hosting its inaugural Sunset 5K Run and Walk on Saturday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m. at Gemini Elementary.
All proceeds from the race will benefit Gemini's technology fund, created by the PTO.
"The Gemini technology fund was created at the beginning of the 2012-13 school year to raise money for technology at Gemini Elementary," said Lisa Young, a member of Gemini's PTO. "The PTO agreed that technology is key to our children's future, and the school was not receiving any funding to invest in technology upgrades."
Believing that establishing a focused campaign would help the organization more effectively raise money to invest in their children's futures, the Gemini PTO began brainstorming creative ways to raise money for the school.
"The school's budget barely includes enough funding to place light bulbs in the overhead projectors that teachers use in the classroom every day," Mrs. Young said. "The PTO wanted to focus on activities that included the entire community and healthy living, similar to the Tennis for Technology tournament we hosted at the beginning of the year."
After many ideas were introduced around the room, the Gemini PTO came up with the concept of organizing the Sunset 5K Run and Walk.
"We wanted to give our community a unique experience, that also celebrates spring and Daylight Savings Time," Mrs. Young said. "Choosing to hold the 5K at 5:30 instead of early morning, like most 5Ks, would not interfere with most kids' sporting activities."
The Sunset 5K Run and Walk takes place on a low-traffic course; therefore, the run is great for beginners and experienced athletes alike, and promises to be a fun, healthy and exciting time.
"We encourage members of the entire community to participate in this inaugural Sunset 5K," said Rachelle Butler, Sunset 5K race director. "Not only will you have fun and get healthy, you'll be benefiting the school's technology fund -- a win-win proposition!"
The Gemini Elementary School inaugural Sunset 5K Run and Walk is Saturday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m.
Race management and timing will be provided by Running Zone.
Fees prior to race day are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and younger, with day-of fees at $30 for adults and $20 for children 12 and younger.
Registration is available online until Wednesday, March 13 at 11 p.m. via www.geminiPTO.org/sunset5K.
Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are still available. Contact Rachelle Butler at GeminiJetstars5K@gmail.com or call (321) 243-2010.
Gemini Elementary School is located at 2100 Oak St., Melbourne Beach.