Walk For The Children empowers community


Jerry Feezel, who helped organize the Walk For The Children, shares a laugh with participant Chelsea Hillard as they march through a neighborhood on their way to downtown Kent on Sunday, Oct. 26 2014. The Walk For The Children event, hosted by LoveLight, Inc. and Delta Omicron, was held to raise money to support programs that promote the healthy development of children.

Jamie Brians

LoveLight, Inc. and Delta Omicron hosted the 17th annual 4.5K Walk For The Children on Sunday to benefit programs for lower-income youth in Portage County.

“It gives people an opportunity to see some of Kent and ties the university and city together,” said Lisbeth Justice, executive director of LoveLight. “We’ve incorporated some of the recent things that Kent State has done and that the city has done.”

The walk has always started and ended on the commons, Justice said, but this year it routed downtown and came back through the esplanade to incorporate new aspects of the university.

LoveLight, a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping disadvantaged people reach their potential and lead healthier lives, aimed to raise $10,000. Proceeds from the walk will go toward ongoing projects, Justice said, such as a Professional Learning Communities Academy to increase teacher retention and effectiveness and rhythmic moving training to help people with cerebral palsy and cognitive motor development.  After-school snack programs in the suburbs will also be offered.  LoveLight plans on providing meals to at least 100 youths at sites in their neighborhoods this summer in addition to engaging them in nature walks, crafts and games.

A friendly competition arose between LoveLight and Delta Omicron. The group that raises the most money is honored with keeping a trophy for the year. This year, the victorious group was Delta Omicron.  They decided to cosponsor the walk when secretary and senior music education major Chelsea Hillard mentioned it to the group.

“I’m doing an honors project for LoveLight creating an after-school music program for preschool and elementary school kids at an apartment complex two days a week to show them that learning can be fun,” Hillard said.

Delta Omicron helped to fundraise and raise awareness of the event.

“We held a bake sale to raise money for the walk,” said Summer Canter, president of Delta Omicron and junior music education major. “After Chelsea told us about this, we all agreed that it was something we wanted to do.”

The community came together to positively effect the lives of local children, teens and families.  Those who pledged and walked were a part of a scenic trek through the streets of Kent to make a difference.

“One thing that has been rewarding is seeing people come together to work towards a common goal,” Justice said. “In the summer, we have people come together to see that the children are getting a nutritious meal, engaging in positive activities and becoming empowered.”

To donate to LoveLight, find out more information on their website

Contact Jamie Brians at [email protected].