The theme of freedom runs strong through the month of July, and it'll be running even stronger July 11 in Naperville when the Rotary Club of Naperville launches a new 5K race.

The Freedom 5K Run and 2-Mile Walk takes a broad stance on freedom, and not just in an American sense.

The race will raise money for the club's International Service Committee, which works on projects such as supporting a women's health center or providing clean drinking water and medical equipment in Nigeria, or funding water treatment plants, smokeless ovens and Type 1 diabetes treatment in India.

"By strengthening these communities, making them independent and strong lends itself to more freedom," said Atul Akhand, a Rotary member who is chairman of the new race. "When people are empowered, they automatically want more freedom."

The 3.1-mile race and 2-mile walk begin at 7:30 a.m. at the Freedom Commons shopping center, 1739 Freedom Drive, on the north side of Naperville.

It's an area that doesn't typically see as many charity walks and runs as, say, downtown Naperville, said Rachel Ossyra, a Rotary member serving as marketing director for the Freedom 5K. But with a built-in business community to provide post-race snacks and a name as appropriate as Freedom Commons, Ossyra said the restaurant-heavy development should be a good location for the new event.

"We're looking forward to celebrating fellowship in the local community, people coming together for a healthy purpose and helping other people in the world," Ossyra said. "Projects that we're doing ultimately will bring freedom to people less fortunate than us."

Humanitarian projects across the world will be the biggest benefactor from the Freedom 5K. Rotarians say they plan to use the money the race brings in as a catalyst to apply for grants to provide equipment such as X-ray machines, power generators, school supplies, solar lights, water wells and water storage to needy countries.

"This is a great way to at least get some seed money," Akhand said.

Participants in the race will find a family-friendly environment, with kids activities such as free face-painting, a bean bag toss and post-race music.

The out-and-back route runs on Diehl Road, Center Point Circle, Washington Street and Shuman Boulevard. Traffic will be detoured to Mill Street or Naper Boulevard between 6:30 and 9 a.m. on race day.

Registration costs $35 until Tuesday, June 16; $40 until Friday, July 10; and $45 on race day.