SJVC Bakersfield students participate in vibrant Color Me Rad 5K
SJVC’s Bakersfield Criminal Justice students started the 5K Color Me Rad event wearing pristine white T-shirts but came out looking like Disney characters.
“Our students started out as clean as newborn babes, but came out silkscreened like tie-dyed hippies,” says Stacy Rocha, Criminal Justice instructor, who helped organize the college’s first-time participation in the event held at the Kern County Fairgrounds.
Color Me Rad is a non-profit organization that visits more than 110 cities in the U.S. and Canada annually to raise funds for an identified recipient – in this March 7th event, the Ronald McDonald House in Bakersfield was the beneficiary. More than 800,000 runners/walkers participate each year across the U.S.
Twelve Criminal Justice students joined approximately 2,000 other runners and walkers who started their heats of 50-60 runners in 15-minute increments. All along the 5K path, volunteers and supporters threw ‘balls’ of vibrantly colored powder and liquid to initiate runners and identify them as participants.
Money was raised through the $35.00 per person registration fee. SJVC Bakersfield’s Criminal Justice (CJ) Club picked up the majority of the fee for program participants.
Justin Ramos (CJ Club President) says, “The whole event was exciting from beginning to end. The energy, excitement, DJ, crowd, and the proceeds that went towards Ronald McDonald house was worth wanting to participate for the years to come.”
Even though the race started at 9:00 a.m. that Saturday, many participants, volunteers and those in the cheering section came earlier to enjoy booths set up by the Girl Scouts, Jamba Juice and others nestled among a food court and live music performances. Attendees had to be a bit watchful, as color bombs went off in the crowds at regular intervals.
“Volunteers coated runners with colorful liquids, powders and gels of blue, green, pink, purple, red, orange, and yellow until your face, shirt and body were covered,” says Stacy. “I wasn’t running, but was doused in color just from being in the crowds and standing at the finish line when our students came in and they got a final explosion of a color bomb in a thin baggie. It was a blast!”
This was a very family-friendly event, and all the kids enjoyed having a good excuse to get color-crazy.
Most runners completed the race in about 20 minutes, with walkers coming in at around 30 minutes. “The good thing about it was that no one won a race,” says Stacy. “There were no awards or medals; you were your own competitor.”
These kinds of events teach SJVC students about volunteerism and the importance of helping the community. It is also an opportunity for students to make important connections with others in their field and show some of their personal and professional skills and talents.