April 22, 2024

IE COMMUNITY NEWS

El Chicano, Colton Courier, Rialto Record

ReWritten’s Thriving 5K Run for Fatherless Youth in San Bernardino Sharpens Community Engagement, Runners Endure Homeless and DUI Driver

4 min read

ReWritten Founder & CEO, Frank Perez with Wife Vanessa and their 5 children after completing the Race for ReWritten 5k.

Downtown San Bernardino was buzzing with both excitement and unexpected adversity last Sunday as nearly 100 runners braved drizzling rain for the second annual “Race for ReWritten,” a charity 5K event designed to bring both funding and awareness to underserved and fatherless youth in the community.

The nonprofit organization ReWritten, led by CEO Frank Perez, has been on a mission for the last decade to provide mentoring, academic support, and scholarships for underserved youth. The organization primarily focuses on fatherless children, representing 98 percent of its demographic. The 5K event marks a significant fundraising opportunity to maintain and expand these crucial programs.

“This event goes beyond the funding,” Perez explained; his passion for his work is evident in his tone. “We want to raise awareness about the issue of fatherless homes and also help breathe life back into downtown San Bernardino.”

The runners embarked on their 3.1-mile journey from the front of the Enterprise Building, looping twice around a route that spanned 15 city blocks. While last year’s event faced a blistering heat of 98 degrees, this year’s participants enjoyed the refreshing respite of a drizzle. “Everyone was happy with the drizzle,” Perez noted.

In a strong display of community support, Councilman Damon Alexander and San Bernardino City School Board Member Felicia Alexander were among the participants, contributing to the nearly 100 runners and 130 attendees.

But the event wasn’t without its challenges. The route brought attendees face-to-face with some of San Bernardino’s ongoing problems. Participants ran past homeless individuals, with reported incidents of harassment and visible signs of squalor along the path.

Most shockingly, an intoxicated driver attempted to charge through the event barricades but was swiftly intercepted by San Bernardino police officers present.

In light of the difficulties, Perez remains optimistic and deeply committed to his cause. As a person who grew up without a father, he understands many of these children’s struggles. “I want to let these kids know there is a God and a father that loves them. It’s tough to have clarity and perspective if you’re struggling with brokenness. It’s difficult to do anything with your life,” he shared, adding that he has seen ReWritten youth overcome these odds, graduating from college, buying homes, and pursuing successful careers.

Perez is not only driven by his own experiences but also by his faith. As the head of a faith-based organization, he believes in the healing power of religion and hopes to pass this healing on to the children he mentors.

Despite the event’s challenges, the run’s outcome was overwhelmingly positive. A striking 70 percent of attendees were from outside San Bernardino, including a 79-year-old participant who traveled from Indio because ReWritten’s cause inspired him.

Other participants came from neighboring towns like Rancho Cucamonga, Redlands, Colton, and Rialto, highlighting the expanding influence of ReWritten’s work. Perez enthusiastically shared that this turnout is a testament to the growing support for ReWritten’s cause and a sign that people are excited about their work for children with absent fathers.

“We’re called ReWritten because anyone growing up in a single-parent home has the odds stacked against them,” Perez said. “If you come alongside these young people, we can rewrite their future.”

This year’s Race for ReWritten signaled a triumph for the organization’s mission and posed an important reminder about the pressing social issues San Bernardino still faces. Amidst the trials and challenges, however, Perez’s dedication remains unshaken. In his vision, the children served by ReWritten and the city of San Bernardino share a common thread of resilience and potential.

The event’s threefold aim – to raise funds, raise awareness, and rejuvenate downtown San Bernardino – was met with enthusiasm from the community. Despite the hurdles, the spirit of camaraderie and shared commitment to the cause persisted, mirroring ReWritten’s mission to transform adversity into opportunity.

“Just as we work to shift the trajectory of the lives of these young people, we also aim to help shift the trajectory of downtown,” Perez explained. “It requires everyone doing their part and coming into the trenches to make a difference.”

The experiences and stories shared at the event will continue to inspire and foster community engagement, shedding light on ReWritten’s tireless efforts in reshaping the lives of the children they serve and the very fabric of their community.

For those who want to support ReWritten and its mission, more information is available on its website or Instagram, @rewrittenofficial.

While the road ahead might be challenging, Perez’s leadership and the growing support for ReWritten hint at a hopeful future for the city of San Bernardino and the young people it nurtures, promising that, with collective effort and dedication, their stories can indeed be rewritten for the better.

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