More than 300 runners and 100 volunteers participated in the fourth annual We're All Human 5K Color Run Sept. 29 at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville. The event was hosted by the Ryan Bartel Foundation.
“It's a very uplifting community event, and it's a family event to come together and celebrate each other,” said Suzie Bartel, founder of the Ryan Bartel Foundation, and mother of Ryan, who died by suicide several years ago. She started the organization to raise awareness about student mental health and suicide prevention in Loudoun County.
The event raised more than $24,000, and this year's fundraising goal was given a boost with a $10,000 check from an Allstate Foundation grant.
Purcellville Allstate agency owner Jason Sengpiehl is a longtime supporter of the Ryan Bartel Foundation. This year, he rallied his colleagues from the surrounding area to also participate in the color run.
The goal of the Bartel Foundation is to support and empower youth and their families through acceptance, connection, resiliency and hope. The organization works directly with Loudoun County Public Schools to help implement a “Sources of Strength” campaign so students will be exposed to different methods of coping skills for dealing with difficult situations.
“Adversity happens, but it is how you deal with it. Everyone faces adversity and we are trying to help kids understand different coping skills to deal with these situations,” Bartel said.
Bartel has also launched an initiative called The Fort, which provides community space outside of schools for students to gather, meet new people, relax and learn new skills.
“We need to accept one another for the ways we are all different. Every person matters and should be loved for how they are,” Bartel said.
More information can be found at the ryanbartelfoundation.org.