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Equity And Access, Strengthening And Expanding Our Work To Realize Our Mission

A key part of our mission at CARA is “…providing accessible opportunities for all runners to train, race, learn, be social and volunteer.”

In June, we shared how our leadership had been reflecting on this mission, the clearer view into the lack of equity across our local community, and the challenges black and brown runners face to enjoy running.

CARA has long efforted to make running more accessible through programs like ‘Go Run, which provide weekly free timed 5K and 1 Mile run/walk events in mostly underserved neighborhood Chicago parks. Progress has certainly been made through ‘Go Run, as now more than 15,000 finishers have been recorded.

However, we recognize the need to strengthen and expand our work to realize our mission to truly make running accessible. That includes a more deliberate and comprehensive approach to serving runners on Chicago’s South and West sides, especially black and brown runners who have not always had the same opportunities in organized running.

Stepping forward with a shared passion is long-time CARA member Steve Sarowitz, who founded the online payroll firm Paylocity. Steve shares our vision for CARA to better serve runners of color, and has provided a major financial commitment.

With Steve’s support, Dominique Sabbs was recently added to CARA’s staff as Manager for Community Development. Previously serving as a Mobile Outreach Worker at Catholic Charities, and as co-administrator with Black Chicago Runners, Sabbs brings to CARA a background of providing comprehensive support and outreach to communities within Chicago's South and West sides.

Sabbs, and her fellow CARA leaders, will work to build on the foundation of the ‘Go Run program, committing more deeply to connecting and building relationships within the communities that program has long aimed to serve. Through collaboration with existing groups, and creating new groups where needed, CARA aims to provide greater opportunities to engage in group running, events and programs within Chicago’s South and West sides.

Bringing opportunities for organized running to every neighborhood is no small task. But with the support and engagement of the CARA community, and the trust and encouragement of the new communities we aim to serve better, we can accomplish this impactful mission to truly provide accessible opportunities for all runners to train, race, learn, be social and volunteer.

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