Freedom Run to fund scholarships for youth at Wellness Center


Running under the hot summer sun on the Fourth of July may seem like a nightmare to homebodies and AC lovers, but this year’s Freedom Run is bringing opportunities for youth in Seward.

The wellness center is now in control of the 10K Freedom Run and the 2-Mile Fun Run, gaining ownership from the Seward Optimist Club, said wellness center director Joel Brase.

With this new-found activity under their belt, Brase said the wellness center has planned a scholarship program for Seward youth to be able to participate in before- and after-school activities and have a base-level membership with funding raised from the Freedom Run.

Brase said he anticipates anywhere between $5,000 and $10,000 in revenue from the event, primarily from business donors and registration fees. This money will then be used for the scholarships.

Brase said this funding will help families in need by providing a safe and enjoyable place for their kids to go to after school.

“A lot of questions we've gotten is (about) what are we going to do about those that may not be able to afford a full membership, and we want to make sure that everyone does have access to this if possible,” Brase said.

This scholarship funding will solely give youth the access to the wellness center. However, Brase said in the future they want to expand this and find ways to allow whole families to have better access to the facilities.

“We for sure want to make sure that the youth that want to be involved in the before- and after-school care program are getting in free of charge through this,” Brase said. “Memberships will likely not be completely free for families, but they will be at a discounted rate.”

The funding will not account for any classes that have extra fees or personal trainers, Brase said.

Brase said that the scholarship will be based similarly to how free and reduced lunch programs operate at the public school. He said he hopes the wellness center will find ways to work hand-in-hand with the school district to best provide for youth in the area.

On top of this addition to the Freedom Run, the wellness center also made changes to the path for runners. Brase said the 10K Freedom Run will use Plum Creek Trail and sections of the running trail used by the high school’s cross country team. 

With these changes, Brase said he is expecting feedback from the community following the event and said he is hopeful for the added opportunities for Seward’s youth at the wellness center.