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Hope House Colorado, a nonprofit based in Arvada that provides resources for teen moms, will host its 8th annual 5k and Fun Run fundraising event on May 1 at Lake Arbor Park. The 5k will begin at 9 a.m. and the Fun Run will kick off at 9:30 a.m.

The fundraiser is a main contributor to Hope House Colorado’s budget, with a goal of $45,000 set for the event. In 2020, 29% of donations to the nonprofit came from Arvada residents, according to Hope House Colorado Development Officer Brie Dilley.

Proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards providing teen moms with parenting classes, legal advice, financial aid and education. Dilley said that while many teen moms are recovering from economic hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with the mental health impact brought on by the pandemic has taken on extra importance.

“A huge focus for us this year,” said Dilley, “as our moms are just beginning to recover economically from COVID, is mental health. We have seen a 165% increase in our counseling request for the year, and so we’re really trying to bulk up that program.”

Dilley added that one-to-one mental health counseling on topics like building positive, health relationships have been in demand over the past year. Hope House Colorado has one counselor on staff and a number of partners in the community that assist with their counseling program, according to Dilley.

This year’s event will be the second 5k and Fun Run that Hope House Colorado has hosted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The event is typically held in May, but Jefferson County Public Health coronavirus protocols pushed last year’s event to August.

Like last year, participants will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing as much as possible, with some allowances given during the race itself. The race will have limited capacity in accordance with Jefferson County guidelines, and registration is open until April 27 on the nonprofit’s website.

Dilley said that the initial idea for the event came from a desire to host something in the Arvada community that would be accessible to teen moms and donors alike, as well as children of all ages.

“We really wanted an event that was in town right here in Arvada,” said Dilley. “We wanted something where we had the opportunity to really partner with the community, and also an event that not only our teen moms could come to, but that they could also bring their kids to.

“So, a big focus for the event has been making it a family-friendly affair,” Dilley continued, “so in addition to a traditional 5k, we also have a fun run, which is just shy of a mile and a half and we do a diaper dash where the little crawlers and toddlers can race across the grass and it’s super, super cute.”