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Runners Light Up Campus to Support Homeless Women and Children

by on June 06, 2015 3:00 PM

If there's anyone who understands how hard it is to be raised by a single parent, it's Penn State Head Football Coach James Franklin.

He made that clear on Friday evening in a video-taped message to the Glowin' Home 5K Run/Walk participants, who were decked out in glow-in-the-dark gear as they ran around campus.

Franklin couldn't attend the event, as he was out of town with his family, so he filmed a video that was played on the scoreboard at Medlar Field.

"I was raised by a single parent, my mom, who raised me and my sister," he says. "I think about times in my life when things dramatically could have changed if it hadn’t been for people helping."

One of those times came when his family nearly lost its home.

"I remember a time when our house was being sold for a sheriff’s sale and someone from the community came and stepped up and made a difference in my family’s life," he says. "I look back at that and think how things could have been so different for me."

The people at Bridge of Hope Centre County, a charity that assists homeless women and children, aim to help make that difference. They put on their first Glowin' Home walk on Friday night, which finished as the runners dashed across home plate on the baseball field.

The run, which raised $12,325.00 for Bridge of Hope, kicked off outside the stadium in unusual fashion. The Law Dogs, a motorcycle club made up of law enforcement personnel, revved their engines and led the runners through an arch of balloons.

"It was neat, although it’s hard to see behind you," says Kevin Klein, one of the motorcyclists. "We led the race out and then helped direct the runners around the route. Part of our chapter mission is fundraising for a charity. Last year, we did a poker run, and we thought participating in this would be even better. We just try and help out."

While it was likely plenty of fun rolling across Porter Road with neon green shirts covered in black leather vests, the motorcyclists were happy to be helping out Bridge of Hope.

"The cause is wonderful," Klein says. "There are so many people out there who need help and direction and what Bridge of Hope provides is the mentoring to help somebody get on their feet. For somebody with a child to do it on their own is really difficult in today’s world, so it’s a great organization."

And for some of the runners, it was just nice to get away from the usual charity run in the sun.

"I think it was just a different type of run," says Kayleigh Buda, a Penn State alumna and local schoolteacher. "We’ve done the Color Run before so we thought it would be cool to do the night run, and it was for a good cause too."

The event didn't hit its goal of $20,000, but it raised plenty of money by selling glow gear and auctioning off donated packages from State College businesses. In the end, that money goes to support families with single mothers in need of some help.

"We’re not giving them a handout," says board member Pam Fuller, "we’re giving them a hand up."

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Zach Berger is the managing editor of StateCollege.com. He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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