Frances Bolaños is in training.
Up before her alarm goes off every Saturday at 5 a.m., Bolaños is strapping on her GPS watch, slipping into her yellow-and-pink running shoes and having a light breakfast before heading out to run.
“I hit the pavement ready to perform,” Bolaños said.
Bolaños, an avid marathoner and mother, is now preparing for the upcoming 5K PARK Fest on Nov. 2, which will be a 3.1-mile race in Miami Beach that aims to involve more than 150 non-profit organizations throughout South Florida. During the registration process, participants will be able to choose among the different programs and pledge their donations.
Fundraising through 5K PARK Fest just made sense for Bolaños.
“I’ve done them in the past with other organizations and not only is it expensive but it’s incredibly time consuming, this is just easy for us,” said Bolaños, director of development for Charlee of Dade County, a non-profit organization that provides resources and support for abused, abandoned, neglected children and at-risk families.
“It gives us an opportunity to raise the money but also to have an event where our supporters and us can to something fun together for a great cause.”
For Marlene Quincoces, founder and chief event officer for 5K PARK Fest, the event gives South Floridians motivation to perform an act of random kindness for their community.
“It opens up the event to any non-profit organization, school or dance program,” said Quincoces.
“It gives any civic organization a platform to produce this kind of event.”
Participants sign up on 5K PARK Fest’s website, choose an organization they want to run for and pay a $40 registration fee, half of which goes back to the program of choice.
“Now they have an event we produced for them to create awareness, build community and raise funds directly,” Quincoces said.
Any organization looking to sign up with 5K PARK Fest must be a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization and undergo a verification process.
“We wanted to make a system that is user-friendly and easy to navigate and social media has been a big part of that,” said Humberto Casanova, development director and co-founder of 5K PARK Fest, who has generated over 2000 followers on twitter.
“It puts us in people’s faces but what has actually got people on board and participants has been that personal interaction.”
For now, Bolaños is counting down the days.
“I want to have the biggest team, I want to have the happiest team and I want to be able to show our pride for the organization we represent.”
If You Go:
What: 5K PARK Fest
When: 6 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 2
Where: North Shore Park Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
Cost: Registration is $40
For more information: 5kparkfest.org