Fun run for a cause

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Runners take off during last year’s 5K Fun Walk/Run to raise funds for School on Wheels at Zuma Beach. Last year, volunteers raised nearly $20,000 for the nonprofit organization, which aids in the education of homeless children. Devon Meyers/TMT

The local nonprofit organization, School on Wheels, is hosting its fourth annual 5K Fun Run/walk Sunday at Zuma Beach to raise funds for the organization.

Organization staff, tutors, family and friends will run for the charity, which provides educational assistance and support to homeless students throughout Southern California.

The race will be timed, and medals will be given out for first, second and third place based on age and gender, as well as for the top fundraiser. In addition to the run, event-goers can also enter into a raffle for a chance to win a variety of prizes, including two round trip plane tickets from Southwest Airlines. Those who cannot attend can also choose to become a team sponsor.

“We are so excited about this year’s Fun Run/Walk, it is always so much fun and it is a great way to come together as a group to raise awareness about homeless children and raise desperately needs funds too,” School on Wheels Executive Director Catherine Meek said. “This year we asked for sponsors and our great friends at Paradise Cove and Paradise Cove Beach Cafe among others, kindly sponsored our T-shirts! We would like to thank all the local businesses, individuals and of course our volunteers, runners and walkers for helping us to make this event so successful.”

The first Fun Run/Walk took place on Nov. 9, 2008, where about 20 runners participated to raise $4,000 for the organization. The event has taken off since then, with more than 200 runners raising nearly $20,000 in 2010. This year, organizers hope to reach their goal of $30,000 for the cause.

Retired teacher and Malibu resident Agnes Stevens founded school on Wheels in 1993. The organization works to provide educational assistance to homeless students in kindergarten through 12th grade at its two leaning centers, one in Skid Row in Downtown Los Angeles and another in South Los Angeles. Last year, School on Wheels aided more than 6,000 homeless students.

This year’s 5K Fun Run/Walk takes place Oct. 23 at the Zuma Beach footpath, on Zuma Access Road. Registration begins at 8:45 a.m. and the race begins at 10 a.m. Advance registration costs $25, day of race registration is $30, and group registration of up to six people costs $75. Those interested in volunteering can contact Linda Huddle at 213.905.2775. More information, including registration, can be obtained by visiting www.schoolonwheels.org/2011funrun.

“Staff and tutors will be participating, and those of you who have joined them in the past, know how much fun this day always turns out to be,” School on Wheels’ Sinead Chilton said. “This year they are planning on it being even bigger, and just as fun. So come join in, bring a friend along, meet these amazing volunteers and get some exercise.”