SPECIAL FOR THE AJT

Their stories are becoming all too common – young people taking their own lives or the lives of others because of the pain they feel from being bullied.

WellstarDid you know 160,000 students stay home from school every day, for fear of being bullied? On November 3, you can step up to make a difference. Join the Embracing Tolerance Program and WellStar® Health System for the WellStar stepUP 5K Race to Embrace Tolerance.

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Embracing Tolerance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that promotes awareness of social intolerances to middle school and high school students throughout the Atlanta metro area. Their programs give pre-teens and teens the knowledge, empathy and responsiveness needed to combat bullying, racism and prejudice.

“By using lessons learned by studying the history of the Holocaust (and genocides in Bosnia, Rwanda, and Darfur), students have the opportunity to create bridges between these historical examples and current events playing out within their own lives and in schools today,” states Steve Sutton, Embracing Tolerance’s Executive Director.

The program also explores the roles played by heroes and bystanders during the history of genocides, as well as on school playgrounds across the country.  Embracing Tolerance’s goal is to create more educated and tolerant citizens in Georgia’s youth by teaching them to accept the racial, social, and religious differences that exist among their peers.

With public school system funding decreasing for extracurricular programs, advocates Steven Schaffer and Steve Sutton decided a road race would be a fun way to raise money to help put more students through the program. WellStar® Health System is supporting the stepUP Race to Embrace Tolerance.

“As long-standing member of the community, we believe that life well-lived applies to all aspects of health. Not just physical. We are proud to be a part of this event,” states Katie Lopez of WellStar Health System.

When Schaffer came up with the idea of planning a road race to help this charity, he had modest expectations at best. “I thought we would have success with 100 runners and a couple of sponsors.  I am overwhelmed and thrilled at the number of runners and sponsors who have stepped up to participate.  Having the community stand behind this type of education program is really special.”

The race currently has 200 registered runners and notable race sponsors, including The Southeast Permanente Medical Group, Morgan Stanley the Frank Group, ADP, Raymond James the Fred Ross Team, Chrystal Springs and United Healthcare.

This year’s goal is to raise enough money to provide transportation to and from the Congregation Gesher L’Torah in Alpharetta, where the Embracing Tolerance Education Program takes place. It’s a different kind of field trip that teaches a student now is the time to take action, step up and make a difference.

At a glance

The race will take place Sun., Nov. 3, with an 8 a.m. start for the 1 mile fun run and 8:30 a.m. for the 5k run at the North Point Village shopping center.

To learn more and download a registration form, visit embracingtolerance.com.

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