Washing machines in the Riverhead area must have had quite a weekend.
On Saturday, the Riverhead Charter School raised about $6,000 — and left dozens of shirts in need of serious bleach — at its first-ever Color-a-Thon fundraiser race.
The event wasn’t an average 5K race. Sure, the 75 or so participants ran enough laps around the school to constitute five kilometers, but while they did that staff members doused them in a variety of powdered paints.
“We have parents already asking if we could do this again in the spring,” said Kaitlyn Kosiorowski, an administrative assistant at the school who co-chairs all fundraising efforts. “It was a huge hit. The kids had a blast.”
Ms. Kosiorowski said the idea came simply from an advertisement packet delivered to the school several years ago. Once the charter school finished its renovations in January, she decided it was time to get the race started, and now, she expects it to be a regular fixture.
The students all raised money on their own by soliciting “sponsors” and donations for the race, and they even set up individual websites so that distant family members could offer support.
“We’ve done a lot of fundraisers before and those really came down to parents — kids come home with packets and they ask the parents, ‘Can you sell candles?’” Ms. Kosiorowski said. “I was trying to do something where the kids were involved. The kids were able to ask for donations and sponsors for themselves and then they were able to enjoy the day, too.”
According to its agreement with the company that organizes the colorful runs, the school kept 70 percent of the money raised. With that $6,000 in its pocket, Ms. Kosiorowski said the school will focus on adding technology, particularly new computers and smart boards, to its library and classrooms to supplement a new media-oriented program instituted this year.
Ms. Kosiorowski organized the event along Laura Arcuri, the school’s dean of students and families. After months of stress and work, she was pleased with the turnout.
“In the middle of the event, I looked around and I said, ‘This went perfectly,’” Ms. Kosiorowski said. “To see how happy everybody was made all the time and effort really worth it … It’s a really, really special feeling.”
And for all of the future installations of the charter school’s paint-splattered races, she offered a piece of advice: shake off your clothes before you wash them.
“I shook my hair out; I tried to bang my clothes together and a lot of [the paint] came off,” she said. “I got into my car and I wasn’t so upset about it … It looks like a mess, but it’s corn starch so it does easily come off.”
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