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Annual Hike/Bike/Run Auction for Valley Haven to take place May 1

VALLEY — This year’s Hike/Bike/Run for Valley Haven School will be taking place on Saturday, May 1. It will be the 45th annual event, and there will be some changes from previous events. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, very few Hike/Bike/Run events took place last year. One of the more successful ones was a virtual run with a total of 60 runners taking part.

“We will do that again this year,” said Craig Brown, executive director of Valley Haven School. “We will also have three running events that day. We are asking participants to come, run or walk a mile, 4k (2.49 miles), 5k (3.1 miles) or all three. Medals will be awarded to the overall winners, masters winners, and first, second and third-place male and female winners in 10 age groups for the 4k and 5k.”

There are special awards for those who do all five virtual runs between April 29 and May 4. Submit times to rkeel@mindspring.com by May 4.

Registration forms are at Valley Haven School. On-site registration can take place at Valley Haven on the morning of May 1 prior to the start of the races. The one-mile run starts at 8 a.m. EDT, the 4k at 8:30 a.m. and the 5k at 9:30 a.m.

Masking and social distancing will not be required but will be appreciated. There will be limited access inside the school that day. 

“We will be modifying this year’s Hike/Bike/Run to some extent,” Brown said. “We want to be as safe as possible.”

Gatorade, grilled hamburgers, snacks and water will be available. A children’s fun area will be provided as well.

For more information about Hike/Bike/Run events, call Valley Haven at (334) 756-2868 or (334) 756-7801.

The annual Hike/Bike/Run Auction for Valley Haven will be taking place at Valley Community Center on Friday evening, April 23. The doors will open at 5 p.m. EST so everyone can see the items that will be up for bids. The auction will get underway at 5:30 p.m. Anyone who would like to donate an item for the auction can bring it by the school or call (334) 756-2868 and arrange for someone to come by and pick it up.

“We have some really nice items for this year’s auction,” Brown said. “We still have the items from last year’s auction that was canceled, plus the items that will be donated this year. We are hoping everything will go well at this year’s auction. It was one of the major fundraising events we missed out on last year, and we are looking forward to having it again this year.”

Until last year, the Hike/Bike/Run had raised more than $100,000 every year for more than 30 years. Despite the limitations due to covid, the 2020 Hike/Bike/Run did bring in approximately $35,000. That wasn’t bad given the circumstances but far short of what the school needs as its local match for state and federal funding. 

“We hope to be back up to $100,000 and perhaps a little more this year,” Brown said. “The people of this community have been so generous in their support of Valley Haven School. We need them to come through again. We’re also hoping for people to come out to Valley Haven on Saturday, May 1 and take part in all the activities that will be going on.”

In addition to the running events, the annual Jane Carmack walk will be starting at 7 a.m. in downtown West Point. It’s a seven-mile walk to Valley Haven with police escorts all along the way.

The pandemic dealt a hard hit to Valley Haven, but Brown is confident things will get better. The school had 74 clients at the start of the pandemic last March. That number is now down to 33. Six long-time clients lost their lives in the past year, and some have been sheltering at home. “We’re hoping to get some of them back once everyone is vaccinated,” Brown said. “Our youngest student is 30, and we have some who are in their 80s. One of the ones we lost this past year was 86.”

Valley Haven School has programs for both adults and children. The adult programs have basic education classes, training for independent living skills and vocational training. The early intervention program is for infants and toddlers up to age three and includes speech, occupational and physical therapy.

Valley Haven is affiliated with the Arc of Alabama, a program that fights every day on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, protecting their civil rights and access to vital programs such as Medicaid.