WEST PORTSMOUTH — The Counseling Center’s (TCC) Natural High 5K and Fitness Festival held in Earl Thomas Conley Park in West Portsmouth Saturday raised $6, 347.55, which is the best yet, according to TCC staff. All proceeds will be allocated toward The Summer Outreach Club.
Melissa Whitt, Natural High 5k and Fitness Festival, community relations and development specialist for Compass Community Health(CCH) and TCC, and race coordinator, said the event would not be possible without the support of the community.
“Thank you to all of our wonderful event partners, participants and volunteers,” Whitt said. “Without them the event would not be possible and that is another example of how our community comes together to support a wonderful program, The Summer Outreach Club. It was a great day.”
Gina Collinsworth, director of community relations and development for CCH and TCC, said moving the Natural High 5K event from fall to summer has attributed to the event’s increased success.
“Every year we plan this fundraiser for the Summer Outreach Club and every year the community comes out to support us and make it a great day,” Collinsworth said. “Attendance was up and moving it from the fall to the summer has been a big success. This event offers something for everyone and we had runners, walkers, boot camp enthusiasts, hip hop heat dancers and yoga lovers. A big thank you to everyone who participated and all the fitness instructors, massage therapists and community partners for spending their Saturday morning with us.”
The Natural High 5K and Fitness Festival had 30 volunteers, 13 sponsors, eight donors and patrons, and more than 100 5k runners and Fitness Festival participants.
Skilyn Robinson has been an active participant in The Summer Outreach Club for six years, and said she has learned a lot from her experience. She is the daughter of Will Robinson and Brittney Manor.
“I think this event is important because it can help you to get in shape and it really helps out with The Summer Outreach Club,” Robinson said. “Outreach teaches how kids to listen, and to be part of a team, and to work well together.”
Clarence Parker has worked as coordinator of The Summer Outreach Club for 26 years, and as Prevention Program Director for TCC. Parker said the event is both fun for all, and necessary for the sustenance of Summer Outreach.
“This is an event that I believe is really exciting and fun for the community, and it provides additional funding for our Summer Outreach Club,” Parker said. “Because of our limited resources for putting on this program, our two major fundraisers are our Celebrity Chef Dinner and then this event. And so it is always gratifying to see the community come out and support it and help make those funds available so that next year we will be able to do Summer Outreach Club again.”
Though Parker’s retirement is imminent, he said he plans to keep watching The Summer Outreach Program move forward from a distance.
“It is bittersweet. I’ve enjoyed my tenure with The Counseling Center, working with The Summer Outreach Clubs,” Parker said. “But I am looking forward to a time of retirement, and kind of sitting on the sidelines watching, and seeing how the program continues to development and move forward.”
Reach Portia Williams at 740-353-3101, ext. 1929, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.