July 11, 2016 [Chicago, IL] A Safe Haven Foundation rallied thousands of registered runners, walkers, donors, volunteers and supporters for the 6th Annual 5k RUN! To End Homelessness on Sunday, July 10th in beautiful Douglas Park, located in North Lawndale on the West Side of Chicago.
“In light of recent national tragedy and unrest, Sunday morning’s events filled Chicago’s Douglas Park in North Lawndale with positivity and hope. During a time of chaos and confusion, A Safe Haven’s mission remains crystal clear: to end poverty and homelessness at the root level, and in a sustainable manner. We can alleviate the social and economic challenges, including Opioid addictions, which are currently fueling many of the problems individuals in our communities face. As servant leaders, we are doing our best to meet our State contractual and our moral obligations to help those in crisis find sustainable jobs and housing. We are humbled and honored that so many people took positive action on Sunday to support us, and the most vulnerable populations we serve: mothers and children, youth, and military veterans.” Neli Vazquez Rowland.
The runners included CEO’s, business associations, elected officials, universities, including a team from as far away as Boston’s Harvard University as well as competitive and novice runners alike. Awards were given for the overall top 50 runners and top age group runners, as well as fundraising awards.
The event was attended by many dignitaries including Lt. Governor Evelyn Sanguinetti, Senator Kimberly Lightford, State Representative Linda Chapa LaVia, Cook County Commissioner Jesus ‘Chuy’ Garcia, Cook County Commissioner Robert Steele, Illinois State Controller Leslie Munger, Cook County Commissioner Dan Patlak and former Alderman Ed Smith and Alderman Bob Fioretti. The Honorary Host Committee for the event included over 100 elected officials; and all were very motivated to support the cause with promotions, teams of volunteers, runners, and sponsorships.
Congratulations to Cook County Commissioner Dan Patlak who fielded a team of over 120 registered runners and won awards for the largest team and top fundraiser for the second year in a row.
Over 60 corporate and media sponsors were on hand to promote and support the event. Race T-shirts were purple to honor Prince, and to shed light on the growing epidemic of opioid addictions, and to celebrate Recovery. Opioid addiction is a leading cause of poverty, homelessness, and death, affecting individuals from every economic class. The number of deaths in America due to opioid addictions exceeds the rate of deaths due to car accidents and gun violence. Music for the event was provided by D.J. Oliver Fade who filled the airwaves with upbeat and classic hits by iconic artists like Prince, Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Janis Joplin and many others who succumbed to the disease of addictions to opioids.
Laura Bretan, recent Golden Buzzer Winner and Finalist for America’s Got Talent and longtime supporter of A Safe Haven was honored on Friday at the ASH VIP sponsor Kickoff Party with the ‘Voice of An Angel” Award. She hit the Buzzer to start the event as celebratory confetti fell upon the runners and walkers to send them off on their RUN! To End Homelessness and change the lives of those in need.
Inspiring testimonials were shared by A Safe Haven 2012 Alum Angelia Bianca, and current ASH resident and military veteran Tim. Anglia suffered from heroin addiction for 35 years and was arrested more than 120 times before coming to A Safe Haven. Four years after leaving the program, she is not only recovered from her addiction, but she is gainfully employed, enrolled in school, and on track to buy a condo.
Tim is a military veteran who was honorably discharged after sustaining a severe back injury. He was homeless for three years and became addicted to prescription opioids. After receiving treatment at A Safe Haven, Tim is in recovery, newly employed, and on his way to being independently housed.
More pictures available upon request: media@ASafeHaven.org