The run will start at the gates of Georgia Perimeter College Saturday at 8 a.m., rain or shine. The run, along with other community events Lekotek hosts, embraces its mission of inclusion.
“Everything we do goes with our mission of inclusion,” Founder and Director Helene Prokesch said. “The run was initiated because at the time we had a year-long waiting list and this run helps to raise funds and awareness about the center.”
This event is designed to help Lekotek families become more part of their community and to have the community get involved with the organization.
The event is expected to raise $50,000 and have more than 700 runners. This is a vast growth since the inaugural year with $4,000 raised and 124 runners.
There are prizes for the winners and each child will receive a medal for participating. Prokesch said there will be something for the all attendees.
Prokesch started Lekotek in December of 1983. She said her family encouraged her after her nephew, who was born with Down Syndrome, worked with the Lekotek in Illinois. Prokesch has an education degree in special education and worked in the Fulton County School System.
The organization’s mission is to help a children with special needs feel included in their family and community by providing resources. When working with children and their families, the organization looks at the abilities the child has through play type learning.
“We focus on the child’s abilities,” Prokesch said. “We are modeling for the parent everything we are doing with their children instead of having them in isolation and the parent is not there for the therapy.”
Even with the funds raised from the run, the organization still has a waiting list for monthly sessions, but with expansion and more satellite campuses, the wait is from a month to two month period instead of a year. When a family is on the waiting list, however, they still have access to all the field trips and community events the organization hosts.
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