CRESTVIEW — Following a weekend 5K fundraiser, Guardian Ad Litem has an additional $1,200 for ensuring north Okaloosa County children have the best representation, organizers said.


CRESTVIEW — Following a weekend 5K fundraiser, Guardian Ad Litem has an additional $1,200 for ensuring north Okaloosa County children have the best representation, organizers said.



Proceeds from the “My Forever Home 5K Run/Walk,” held Saturday at Old Spanish Trail Park, will benefit children court-ordered removed from their homes.



"All the funds we raised go towards the Happy Kids Fund,” said Carita Smith, the Crestview office’s volunteer coordinator. The fund helps needy foster parents pay for children’s dental braces or hearing aids, among other expenses.



Smith said she plans to make the 5K run and walk an annual event.



If that happens, a number of Saturday’s participants may add it to their regular rotation of races.



Crestview resident Steven Rausch, who finished first in the race, said he participates in local 5K events to maintain a healthy weight. The 47-year-old is preparing for his third appearance at the New York Marathon, scheduled for November.



"(The race) was more to test myself than compete against people," he said.  



Rausch said he would be interested in volunteering for Guardian Ad Litem after his son graduates from college.   



The 5K was a chance for Milton resident Karla MacGregor, who finished second over all, to learn more about the nonprofit.



"I read a little bit about it before the race, but I definitely learned more about it with the skit," she said.



Before the race, event organizers held a skit explaining the 5K’s name.



"The skit we performed ... was to let people know that these kids go from home to home," Smith said. "They want a forever home."



Some volunteers registered participants before the run and handed out event T-shirts; others, including Niceville resident Alyssa Kittell, managed an inflatable bounce house for children to play in.



Kittell, who recently joined the nonprofit, giving courtesy calls to children, said she is a firm believer in the program.



"If you have to volunteer, then this is the best way to do it," she said. "What's better than helping some kids get stability in their life?"



Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Matthew Brown at 850-682-6524 or matthewb@crestviewbulletin.com. Follow him on Twitter @cnbMatthew.