Coming Together for a Great Cause
Some might describe the Peninsula Bridge Fun Run (formerly known as the Valpo Run) as “fun,” “lively,” and “colorful.” But organizers, participants, and volunteers would likely add “meaningful” to the top of the list.
The three-mile, family-friendly event—now celebrating its 11th year—is part of Menlo School’s long-standing partnership with Peninsula Bridge, a non-profit organization empowering motivated, under-resourced students to achieve college and career success.
“Menlo and Peninsula Bridge enjoy a long-standing and incredibly positive partnership. Menlo generously hosts our after school and summer academies on its campus, Upper School students serve as teaching assistants, Menlo parents volunteer as mentors across programs, and school leaders and parents serve on our Board,” says Devon Gold, Senior Engagement and Major Gifts Director at Peninsula Bridge and former Menlo parent and MSPA President. “Peninsula Bridge scholars and their families are important parts of both the Middle and Upper School, enriching the Menlo community.”
As Menlo’s first major event of the fall, the Fun Run is an opportunity to kick off the school year with a sense of community: students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, siblings, grandparents, and Peninsula Bridge families coming together in support of a great cause. “We are incredibly grateful for the generosity, volunteerism and spirit the Menlo community brings year after year to the Fun Run tradition. It truly captures the best of our decades-long partnership, raising awareness for our mission and bringing our communities together with a shared purpose,” says Devon.
The organization serves over 850 underserved students year-round, with academic, social-emotional and career support; 100% of scholars graduate high school and matriculate to college. “What Peninsula Bridge does in terms of mentorship in our own community is amazing. From taking kids from middle school through college and helping them—many of them first generation kids going to college—it’s a really special thing,” says Menlo Parent and Fun Run co-chair, Heidi Abrams.
“We try to keep our overhead really low with in-kind donations, sponsorships and volunteers,” says Menlo Parent and co-chair Christina Tudor, “so that any funds raised can go directly to Peninsula Bridge.”
It’s no wonder that on race day, hundreds of people gather around Menlo’s loop with giant smiles, ready to get doused in (non-toxic, biodegradable) color and run, walk, skip, scoot, or bike the three-mile course. Prizes, from Menlo swag to local gift certificates, are awarded for everything from fastest runners and strongest school spirit to most colorful dog and first stroller over the finish line.
“It ends up being kind of organic because as we’re watching it and seeing goofy stuff happen we’re creating awards on the fly,” says Heidi. Meanwhile, student volunteers are throwing color, running snack stations and handing out water on the course. “It really is a fun run!” Christina adds.