The weather has always been good for Kennedy Krieger Institute’s family-focused fundraiser, ROAR for Kids. In that, organizers have been lucky.
For 15 years, the event has taken place at Oregon Ridge Park on the last Saturday of April. It features a 5K, a low-mileage fun walk and a festival. The latter even includes a spirited mascot challenge with local team favorites.
“It’s always been a fun morning for families,” says Michele Mueller, Kennedy Krieger’s director of special events.
This year, it still will be—but it will take place virtually on April 25.
Back in March, before most of us were working from our homes, the hospital made the decision to take their event online, recognizing that “this is how life is going now,” Mueller says.
“A lot of nonprofits have had to make this shift,” she says, adding that canceling the event was never an option. ROAR for Kids raises needed funds for research, the Center for Autism, four school programs, Bennett’s Blazers therapeutic recreation program and more.
The goal then was to still have the fundraiser and virtually “continue the spirit of the event,” she says.
Here’s what will happen this year: Families register online and then share their fundraising page through Facebook, a popular way to get support for a cause. ROAR-goers receive a T-shirt and other “goodies,” such as a printable animal mask, printable signs and a gift card for a Chick-fil-A sandwich. Then they get active—walking, racing the stairs or otherwise working out. This year’s event has a jungle theme and participants are encouraged to post costumed selfies and videos on social media.
A big advantage to going virtual is the potential to reach even more people, says Lisa Nickerson, assistant vice president of marketing, communications and public relations. Past events have centered on regional families who drove to Oregon Ridge. Now participants can be grandparents, cousins, friends and others around the country who walk or work out to raise funds. Plus, it’s a good way to help out when not much else can be done.
“It’s a way for people to feel like they’re part of a community again,” Nickerson says.
Got plans on April 25? Even after the event, supporters can still make a contribution. Here’s how.