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Runners help the cause of their choice in Human Race

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  • The Human Race, organized by Giving DuPage, brings together supporters of nearly 60 DuPage nonprofits for a single 5K run and fitness walk with participants choosing which group benefits from their registration fees.

       The Human Race, organized by Giving DuPage, brings together supporters of nearly 60 DuPage nonprofits for a single 5K run and fitness walk with participants choosing which group benefits from their registration fees.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer, APRIL 2013

  • Patrick Austin of Plattville, Ill., was the first man to cross the finish line in the 2013 Human Race, while Kristen Heckert of Lisle was the first woman to finish. Prizes are awarded for the winners as well as the top finishers by age group.

       Patrick Austin of Plattville, Ill., was the first man to cross the finish line in the 2013 Human Race, while Kristen Heckert of Lisle was the first woman to finish. Prizes are awarded for the winners as well as the top finishers by age group.
    Daniel White | Staff Photographer, APRIL 2013

 
 

Runners will tell you one of the benefits of the sport is the solitude, the time to be alone in your head and think through what matters most.

Maybe while logging the miles you notice the nice houses you jog past along the way and it starts you thinking about those who would love the chance to own a home -- those working with DuPage Habitat for Humanity or the DuPage Home Ownership Center.

Maybe your mind drifts back to your international vacation and you wonder what it would be like to be new to our country -- trying to make your way like those resettling through World Relief DuPage/Aurora or learning English with a Literacy DuPage volunteer.

Maybe you think about your relationship with your children and consider how important it is to be able to draw support from family and friends -- and how much it might mean for others to lean on volunteers from Project HELP or Teen Parent Connection.

You choose a cause that speaks to you and pledge to run when the organization has a 5K.

While nearly every weekend spring through fall brings a charity run or walk to our communities, many groups working directly in DuPage County don't have the resources to organize such a fundraiser.

Fortunately, Giving DuPage does.

A nonprofit itself, Giving DuPage aims to match donors and volunteers to nonprofit groups serving the county. To this end, the group created the Human Race, a 5K run and fitness walk that benefits not one but nearly 60 participating DuPage nonprofits. When participants register, they choose which organization will benefit from their registration fee.

The third Human Race steps off at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 26, at The Esplanade at Locus Point, 1901 W. Butterfield Road, Downers Grove. Runners and walkers will set off on separate courses, and dogs, strollers and wheelchairs are allowed on the walking route.

Today we hear from six runners and walkers, each dedicated to a separate cause, all participating in the Human Race.

Laura Cosenza, Naperville Area Humane Society

Laura Cosenza started her volunteering quite simply: she walked dogs at the Naperville Area Humane Society to give the strays a little exercise and time to socialize. But the more time she spent at the shelter, the more she wanted to help. Now involved with fundraising and outreach, Cosenza will take part this month in the Human Race to raise money for the organization. Read her story.

Neil Samuels, Project HELP

Neil Samuels of Naperville was looking for a volunteer opportunity when he heard about Project HELP. All it took was hearing how the organization's one-on-one parent mentoring had changed one person's life and he knew he'd found the right organization to give his time to. Samuels will run in the Human Race organized by Giving DuPage to benefit Project HELP. Read his story.

Linda Kulikowski, Literacy DuPage

An avid reader, Linda Kulikowski of Woodridge became a volunteer tutor through Literacy DuPage to share her love of books with adults looking to improve their language skills. She didn't realize how much she would learn about the world around her from those she tutored. Kulikowski will walk in the Human Race to support Literacy DuPage. Read her story.

Lyndsay Czwronog, CASA of DuPage County

CASA of DuPage County provides volunteers who serve as children's advocates when they're drawn into the court system. Lyndsay Czwornog, who volunteers as a graphic designer for the organization, will run in Giving DuPage's Human Race to raise money for CASA. Read her story.

Allison Schuck, Teen Parent Connection

Teen Parent Connection provides a range of support for pregnant adolescents and new young parents with the purpose of helping them build strong families while continuing to pursue their own education and life goals. Teen Parent Connection is among the nearly 60 organizations benefitting this month from Giving DuPage's Human Race. Allison Schuck of Naperville will walk in the Human Race to support her former employer. Read her story.

Susan McNeal-Bulak, Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry

Susan McNeal-Bulak knew she wanted to help ensure no one goes hungry and started volunteering at Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry in Naperville after retiring. Her mornings on the pantry floor helping clients choose fresh and non-perishible foods quickly became her favorite part of volunteering at the pantry. She'll take part in the Human Race to raise money for Loaves and Fishes. Read her story.

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