The 13th annual Braden Aboud Memorial Walk/Run is scheduled for May 5 at Zach White Elementary School, 4256 Roxbury Drive. This year, the Walk/Run is noncompetitive, focusing on fitness, family, friends, and fun with a Cinco de Mayo theme. There will be multiple vendors, mariachis, inflatable attractions and dog adoptions.
This community event has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 2007. It is truly a community celebration of life, supported by local businesses and private donors and benefiting the kids of El Paso. It is a volunteer organization with no administrative costs, which means that the donations and activity fees are invested in its target population — the kids of El Paso.
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Braden Aboud was an ordinary El Paso kid with a generous heart. He had a spirit that lit up when he spent time with family and friends. He was an expansive soul whose love for life, for God and for the world led him to dream of a plan to help others. He wanted to give blankets to kids who were cold at night, to hold a blanket drive to keep them warm. This school project benefited hundreds of El Paso kids. His energy and spirit lives on in this community more than a decade after his tragic death. His parents and friends established the Braden Aboud Memorial Foundation to carry on and expand Braden’s efforts.
The Foundation assists kids who are cold, who need school supplies, who have no shoes, who need some help to live their own dreams. This nonprofit foundation identifies area organizations, projects and individuals in need of financial assistance, and has donated over $1.5 million to promote physical fitness and health awareness among the youth of El Paso, and to honor kids who demonstrate academic achievement and outstanding character.
The Foundation ensures that El Paso children have some of the same opportunities Braden enjoyed in his lifetime. It provides an avenue through sports to help promote positive self-esteem and create lifelong friendships among the children in our community. It is a completely volunteer-managed project with no administrative costs.
Supported by grants and donations, the nonprofit’s only fundraiser is the annual Braden Aboud Memorial Walk/Run. Last year, more than 12,000 people participated; making it one of the largest youth-centered run/walk marathons in the U.S. and the largest in the Southwest.
Schools, community and corporate teams join and support the race. Albertsons, El Paso Times, Helen of Troy, TFCU, Hyundai El Paso, Jason’s Deli and several other foundation and corporate donors are included in this year’s list of sponsors.
You can register for the event by mail or in person at The Braden Aboud Foundation, 5024 Doniphan #2, El Paso, TX 79932 or online at www.eventbrite.com. The registration fee is $20 for adults and $10 for kids younger than 19. The deadline for team registration is today.
Those fees support the B-Warm blanket project, an annual city-wide event that promotes awareness of the needs of others during the winter months. Most of the blankets are donated by the community. The Foundation has collected and distributed over 35,000 blankets, with collection sites in local businesses and government offices across El Paso.
Those fees and donations have provided shoes and backpacks filled with school supplies to more than 7,500 El Paso kids through two school districts and several agencies over the years. Those fees support after-school programs, water safety programs, grants to local sports teams, school projects and activities promoting and benefitting El Paso kids, including a partnership with local tennis pro Ross Walker. Those fees allow the Foundation to award college scholarships to graduating high school seniors.
I hope to see you at the Cinco de Mile race on Sunday! Until then, B-safe, B-happy, B-blessed and B-strong.
Ouisa D. Davis is an attorney at law in El Paso. She can be reached at Ouisadavis@yahoo.com.