Following a successful debut last year, Dilico Anishinabek Family Care and Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation are teaming up once again for the Honouring Our Children Run.
The run takes place at Boulevard Lake on Saturday, Sept. 30 as part of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“For us, it means a lot that we are able to provide this safe space and opportunity for our community to come together and learn about what this day is all about,” said Natalie Paavola, who is the director of health and wellness with Dilico.
“We are able to honour the children, the survivors of residential schools, the children that never made it home and their families who still live on in the community.”
The inaugural edition of the event saw nearly 800 runners participate, which came as a pleasant surprise to organizers.
“We were hoping for a couple of hundred participants for our first year but we were overwhelmed by the amount of support that we got from the community,” Paavola said.
Paavola believes that the success of the event has to do with the message of bringing the community together and healing together by providing education around the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
“As an Indigenous person, I often hear questions like, ‘What can I do to learn more about what the day is about? What can I do to educate myself and my family? What can we do as a community?’” Paavola said.
“My dad went to a residential school so I know from experience what is is like to live with the impacts of that traumatic history. Not everyone is quite prepared to hear about the dark history, but at the same time a lot are ready to learn about it, and that’s something we saw last year.
“People from different backgrounds came out and they are starting to talk and starting to learn. We’re hoping to see a good turnout again this year.”
All of the funds that are raised during the day will go to the Mazinaajim Children’s Foundation, which is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to supporting Indigenous children and their families.
“It helps the children and youth through different areas such as recreational, educational and cultural leadership,” Paavola said.
Registration for the event begins at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, with the 15-kilometre run starting at 8:40.
A 10km and 5km run get underway at 8:55 and 9:10 respectively, with a kids fun run slated for 10:30.
“The kids run is new for this year and we are hoping that it brings more families out,” Paavola said.
For more information on the run, visit the event's website.