Written by Phil Cerroni
By Amanda Casanova
About 500 people stepped up to the starting line at the Citizens Development Center’s Dash for Dignity on Sep. 22 at Waterway Tower.
The 19th annual 5K run and one mile fun run/walk supports the Citizens Development Center, a company that provides employment opportunities and training to men and women with all types of physical and cognitive disabilities.
David Patterson, executive director for the center, said the event would raise about $30,000 for the center, which is partly supported by United Way funds.
“We couldn’t have asked for better weather for today,” Patterson said. “Great turnout.”
Vendors, including La Madeleine and DJs Fred and Mercedes Badyna, set up for the one-day event, while children attending the race could get their face painted or hop in the bounce house.
“It’s a wonderful event,” said Donna Pietens, whose daughter has been helped by the Citizens Development Center. “A whole lot of different people come out to help— not just families with disabled kids.
“Everybody comes out and helps get the word out about the Center.”
The Center has helped Pietens’ daughter over the past 20 years, including finding her a job.
“I couldn’t do without it,” Pietens said. “She loves it. It’s taught her how to be productive and teaches her that the money she earns she can spend, and she loves to shop.”
“Yeah,” said Pietens daughter, gripping her mom’s hand and smiling.
The Citizens Development Center helps about 160 people daily, and the run is the center’s largest fundraiser for the year.
“It’s so great to see it all come together,” Virginia Lockwood, director of development for the Center, said to the crowd.