Birthdays are a big deal at Wheat Ridge’s Kullerstrand Elementary School, where every morning, students are invited over the intercom system to the front office for their birthdays. The students …
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To learn more or express interest in taking over The Run for Cake, a local 5K, contact Maria Curtis at email@example.com.
Birthdays are a big deal at Wheat Ridge’s Kullerstrand Elementary School, where every morning, students are invited over the intercom system to the front office for their birthdays.
The students celebrate by visiting the principal, taking a photo and receiving a gift bag of birthday cake ingredients, including cake mix, frosting and candles.
Those gift bags come courtesy of the Run for Cake, an annual fun run launched five years ago by then eighth-grader Maria Curtis.
Curtis, 18, organized the Run for Cake to earn her Girl Scout Silver Award, a community service award.
The Girl Scout with her troop and the Arvada Community Food Bank — now Community Table — to get the project off the ground.
Leaders at the food bank suggested the project fund birthday cake gift bags for Kullerstrand students, Curtis said.
The elementary school receives Title I funding, which the government allocates for low-income students, and those working on the project hoped to make a positive impact on the school.
Curtis brainstormed ways in which to raise the funds. A runner herself — she participated on Faith Christian Academy’s track and cross-country teams — Curtis decided on a fun run.
“It’s really a huge blessing,” said Tim Weaver, Kullerstrand’s family engagement liaison. “It’s just a nice way for the kids to be recognized that we wouldn’t be able to do otherwise.”
Having graduated from high school this May, Curtis is seeking a successor to take over the fun run.
“Whether it’s this summer or next summer, we just want it to continue,” said Judy Curtis, Maria’s mother, who was one of two leaders of Maria’s Girl Scout troop.
Ideally, another Girl Scout will take over the operation, the Curtises said.
They added that an entire troop or service unit, which is a local group of Girl Scout troops, could also take over the project and divide responsibilities between group members.
Maria encouraged middle-school-aged Girl Scouts to consider taking over the project.
“I know it sounds young, but that’s the best age to start something like this,” she said.
The Run for Cake typically occurs in July, bringing in up to 100 runners in a given year, she said.
To participate, runners pay a registration fee of $5, a box of cake mix, a pack of candles and a container of frosting.
“We try to do marketing in person,” Maria said. “I reached out to high schoolers, and I went to a lot of running stores.”
She added that her favorite part of organizing the race has been the opportunity to connect with the Kullerstrand students, including a visit she made to the school in January.
“Every kid at the school wrote me a letter. It was really cool,” she said.
The students also gave her a birthday cake gift bag for her January birthday and recognized her during their school awards ceremony.
“In the future, we know she’ll be a success because of her generous heart,” Weaver said.
Curtis hopes to find a successor during June so she can meet with the new organizer over the summer.
“You don’t have to be super organized, and you don’t even have to like running,” Maria said.
“You just have to want to help people,” Judy said.
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