An annual event that raises funds for Park City Education Foundation is returning this weekend. The Running with Ed relay race will take place throughout Park City on Saturday and will help fund a variety of programs including art in Park City elementary schools.
Director of the Park City Education Foundation Abby McNulty says that it’s not too late to be involved in the 10th annual Running with Ed.
“Some people may still be filling their team so they might have already purchased a team they can still go ahead and fill their team online,” McNulty explained. “If you don't have a team and are interested in running it might be too late for T shirts and medals, but you can reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
The event has raised nearly three-million dollars over the decade. McNulty says they’ve come a long way over the past ten years. The first year was done in pop-up tents and even had a few inches of snow on race day.
“Now we have 1,500 participants running,” McNulty said. “We have hundreds of volunteers, an army of volunteers who help plan this event. All the money that's raised during Running with Ed, not only for team registrations but teams that are fund raising in additional, go to support programs like the Elementary Visual Art program.”
The Elementary Visual Art, or EVA, program is a collaboration between the Education Foundation and the Kimball Art Center. EVA serves McPolin, Trailside and Parley’s elementary schools in the district. McNulty noted that Jeremy Ranch had a robust program of its own.
McNulty says they have to raise funds for these programs because of the lack of spending from the state.
“Utah is the lowest funded education system in the country,” McNulty continued. “It doesn't allow for science teachers, art teachers at the elementary level. It allows for an incredibly basic offering of services. Anything above and beyond that is either raised through local tax increases or through the Education Foundation. Art is something that the Education Foundation strongly values. We believe it's of best interest for all kids to have access to high quality art. So, that's a program that we've been supporting for many many years.”
The foundation hires art specialists at the schools where they teach various curriculum, McNulty mentioned a recent lesson on Frida Kahlo and how learning about the Mexican artists honest self-portraits helped instill self-confidence in students.
“All of the elementary schools, there are student art all over the walls,” McNulty explained. “It's beautiful and the kids are super excited to see their work up and see their name, it’s wonderful. At McPolin this year we're looking to expand the amount of time the art specialist is at the school. Currently kids only have art once a month and so we'd love to double that. Art is very important to the culture of McPolin. Art is a program where all kids can succeed, they would really love to see that expanded at McPolin.”
McNulty says there are a variety of benefits that come to Park City students through the Education Foundation’s efforts. You can find out more about Running with Ed here.