"Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?" And I said, "Here am I. Send me!"
~Isaiah 6:8 NIV
"He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?"
~Micah 6:8 NASB

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Raising Awareness Through Competition: South Bend Tribune

YWCA's 25th annual Run, Jane, Run stays strong despite economy.
To register, visit http://www.ywcasjc.org/ or call (574) 233-9491.
Tribune Staff Writer

SOUTH BEND — What was supposed to be a brief stop before lunch turned into a 25-year commitment for Sally Derengoski.

“I kind of fell into this by accident,” said Derengoski of her leadership role in Run, Jane, Run, the annual YWCA of St. Joseph County athletic competition for women.

The 25th event returns this weekend, with the run/walk Saturday at St. Patrick's County Park, the bicycling Sunday at Bendix Woods County Park and the golf tournament Monday at Morris Park Country Club. Over the years, Run, Jane, Run has raised almost $750,000 for the YWCA's domestic violence program, more than Derengoski could have imagined back in 1984.

That's when Derengoski, director of recreational sports at the University of Notre Dame, accepted a lunch invitation from then ND assistant athletic director Sharon Petro.

“She said we had to make one quick stop first,” Derengoski said.

That stop was the YWCA, where Derengoski found herself in a planning meeting for the first Run, Jane, Run with such folks as the late Dora Reynolds, then the executive director of the YWCA; Mikki Dobski, currently an assistant to South Bend Mayor Stephen Luecke; and Marzy Bauer, a South Bend resident active with charities.

Derengoski remembers the original purpose of Run, Jane, Run was twofold.

“First, we wanted to create an avenue in which women could participate in their own sporting events — where they wouldn't be first in the women's division. They would just be first.

“The second purpose was to raise funds for the YWCA.”

Over the years, she said, a third purpose evolved: To create awareness for the issues affecting women and children, and for the role played by the YWCA.

YWCA Executive Director Linda Baechle, in a news release, said Run, Jane, Run has “stayed true to that mission.”

She said the thousands of women who have participated have raised “critical funds to help women and children escape violent relationships and homes.”

Run, Jane, Run started big. The first year, women could participate in 10 events, ranging from tennis to equestrian. Later, it became a golf-only event until recent years when running then biking were added. Derengoski has remained the chair of the golf tourney throughout.

“One reason I've stayed with it is because I believe in the service that the YWCA offers our community. The second is purely selfish — it's nice to have our own women's golf tourney.”

She calls the golf outing “unofficially the largest women's charity golf tourney in the state.”

The tourney typically draws from 150 to 200 golfers. After playing at Juday Creek Golf Course the past dozen or so years, the event moves to Morris Park Country Club this year.

She said numbers remain strong despite the economy.

“I just want to thank this community for its support — the people and businesses have really stepped up,” Derengoski said.
Staff writer Kirby Sprouls: ksprouls@sbtinfo.com (574) 235-6233

No comments:

Post a Comment