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5k for a 5k!

Organized by: Chris Van Noy

Chris' Photo

EVENT DATE May 21, 2017


Hello :)

My name is Chris and I am a special education teacher in Lakewood, Colorado. For the past 12 years, I have worked with troubled teens in the Denver metro area who face a number of difficult situations. These include, but are not limited to, learning difficulties, social/psychological/emotional challenges, abuse, suicidal ideations and attempts, homelessness, truancy, legal troubles... to name but a few. Two years ago, I recognized that many of the children I work with have benefited from or could benefit from involvement in music. That is, young people who are offered the opportunity to learn how to play an instrument, receive professional lessons, and have a positive adult role model in their lives to guide them, can and have made progress on many levels, including improved family relationships, higher rates of school attendance, and improved mental health. The main obstacle in keeping these kids from accessing music in their lives was monetary. The majority of the families I work with cannot afford instruments and/or lessons for their children, despite the fact that they want to help their kids get involved in a positive and healthy activity. Recognizing this, I set to work trying to help a number of children that I had found in these types of situations. I offered free guitar lessons once a week and worked to get them their own instruments, either by paying for them out of my own pocket or finding kind souls who would donate equipment. Eventually, the number of young people who needed and sought my help grew beyond what I could do alone. So, in January of 2016, I partnered with a fellow teacher and musician to form the Music Appreciation Project (MAP), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that hosts benefit concerts and other events to raise money to purchase instruments and pay for professional lessons from local instructors. As of this date, we have helped over a dozen young people obtain their own equipment and receive individualized lessons. In addition, MAP hosts benefit concerts where our young musicians get the opportunity to play live alongside their instructors and local, professional musicians. While it is incredibly exciting to see our young, budding musicians begin to follow their musical dreams, our greatest joy has come from watching these young people learn what it means to give. Once a young person receives funding from MAP, they are expected to help others in need by performing at our benefit concerts to help raise funds for MAP and participate in community events such as hiking trail restoration , trash clean up, 5k fun runs, etc. Now, because we have received the attention of local community members, pediatricians, musicians and bands (such as Hazel Miller and Big Head Todd and the Monsters!), and local news networks like 9 News Denver (who recently did a story on us), the demand for assistance is growing rapidly. Our funds right now are pretty low, and we are struggling to meet the increasing demand. As a result, we are putting together a 5k fun run on May 21st, 2017 in Bear Creek Lake Park in Morrison, Colorado. We are calling it the 5k for 5K -a 5k fun run to raise $5,000! If we could meet our goal of 5k, we could help so many more kids. Please help us out -give if you can, join us for some fun and healthy exercise and, most importantly, help some beautiful and amazing young people.


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Chris Van Noy

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