The nights are getting colder, and the leaves are beginning to change. As we think of Thanksgiving coming up, we might consider becoming a little more involved in the community. One opportunity is the Hyde Park Thanksgiving Pilgrim Fun Run, a 5K run and walk that takes place on Thanksgiving morning. Stephanie Smith gives us some background and information about the run, as well as her other activities within the Kansas City LGBT community.
1. Could you give us some background about yourself? How long have you lived in the Kansas City area?
I’ve lived in Kansas City since 1981. Truly a Midwestern girl, born in Denver, raised in Nebraska, graduated from KU with a BFA in visual communications. I was a KU basketball walk-on to play along side Lynette Woodard. My first job out of college I was an art director with a small advertising agency in Kansas City, Kan. After six months, the agency closed its doors and I started freelancing to survive. My next ad agency job lasted seven years before I took a leap of faith and started S&Co. Design. Twenty-nine years later, I’m still passionate about design.
2. You have been involved with the Hyde Park Pilgrim Run on Thanksgiving for a while now. How did you become active in this run?
I’ve been involved with the Pilgrim Run from the very beginning in 2011, when I was asked to design the logo. Pro bono projects always seem to expand in scope, which led to print materials, awards, signage, T-shirts and website. We have a great team of core volunteers that make this event run like a fine-tuned machine. It’s a really a fun bunch of people to work with, so it never seemed like work. The Pilgrim Run is an awesome way to start your Thanksgiving morning. Everyone is so happy, alive! There’s an electric buzz in the air. You can feel it!
3. It is important for people to know that this is a fundraiser for Uplifting Westport, the youth and children’s service component of Pilgrim Center Inc. How does the money that is raised help Uplifting Westport?
Pilgrim Run is a fundraising event for Uplifting Westport, which produces children’s programs such as the Hyde Park Spring Frolic and Egg Hunt on Easter Sunday and the Hyde Park Children’s Film Festival on every Friday in July.
The children’s festival offers a concert featuring local musicians; a fun arts and crafts activity; and a recently released movie, with free refreshments, including snow cones and popcorn, for the 150 to 200 children. The Spring Frolic and Egg Hunt attracts over 600 children and their parents to what began many years ago as a simple egg hunt. Now the event includes a variety of craft activities, a petting zoo, and photos with the Easter Bunny.
4. One of the things that I really love about this run is that it encourages kids, not just through the fundraising, but also through the race itself. Could you explain how children are involved in the run?
Many kids run the 5K, and it’s a gas to see them race to the finish line to beat their parents. The joy on their faces is amazing. After the 5K race is the Children’s Pilgrim Dash for kids 8 and under. There are three age divisions: [ages> 4 &