Local FPRA Chapter Donates $4,000 to Youth Shelter

BARTOW, FL (July 22, 2016) – The Dick Pope/Polk County chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association (FPRA) donated $4,000 to the George W. Harris, Jr. Runaway and Youth Crisis Shelter during a meeting of the shelter’s Leadership Board onTuesday, July 12 in Bartow. The shelter is an initiative of Youth and Family Alternatives, Inc. (YFA).

The FPRA chapter raised the funds through its 2016 Carillon Classic 5K Run and Walk on April 30 at Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales. This year marked the fifth anniversary of the Carillon Classic. Carillon Classic co-chairs Lauren Lengyel and Kelsey Hull presented the $4,000 check to shelter Director Glenn Parkinson and Michelle Crawford, Leadership Board chair, in a ceremony staged near the shelter’s main entrance. Officials of the FPRA chapter, YFA and the Leadership Board, as well as FPRA members who served on the Carillon Classic committee, were on hand for the presentation. “We are pleased to make this donation which will help the George W. Harris, Jr. Runaway and Youth Crisis Shelter continue to provide vital, life-saving services for displaced children in Polk and nearby counties,” said Marybeth Soderstrom, president of the FPRA chapter.

The FPRA chapter launched the Carillon Classic 5K Run & Walk in 2012 in partnership with Bok Tower Gardens, YFA and corporate sponsors to raise funds for the shelter and FPRA scholarship programs. The first five events collectively drew more than 2,000 runners and raised nearly $20,000 for the youth shelter. Corporate sponsors who generously supported the 2016 Carillon Classic were Hill Nissan, Mosaic, Watson Clinic LLP, Gold’s Gym (Winter Haven), Gessler Clinic PA, JSK Consulting, McLeod Communications, Clark/Nikdel/Powell, The Heritage Group at Morgan Stanley and Manny’s Original Chop House. The event was also supported by many in-kind sponsors and nearly 50 volunteers. “We are proud to report that the first five Carillon Classics exceeded our goals in terms of runner participation and funds raised for charity. However, as a total volunteer organization, our FPRA
chapter realized we would have difficulty expanding this event. As a result, we have decided to turn the Carillon Classic over to another entity that has the personnel and resources necessary to take this event to the next level based on the solid foundation built by FPRA,” Soderstrom said.

According to Soderstrom, the next Carillon Classic 5K Run & Walk, tentatively scheduled for Saturday, April 29, 2017, will be held at Bok Tower Gardens under the auspices of Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing and Bok Tower Gardens. Additional information on the 2017 event will be
forthcoming from both entities.