Empowerment Through Every Stride: Parents Racing to Raise School Spirit

With the 11th Annual 5K Forward: Fast Track to Empowerment race fast approaching, many racers are ready to hit the starting line. We recently caught up with a few of our special parent runners who shared more about their love for running and Birch Family Services.

Parents Brittany Setegn and Edward Gomez both have children enrolled at the Long Island City Early Childhood Center where faculty and staff have been promoting the upcoming race in school. As seasoned runners, the two parents jumped at the chance to represent their children’s school in Central Park in a few weeks.

“I read the email about the 5K and was probably one of the first people to sign up,” said Brittany. “I ran through college and kind of let that drop off but recently started running again.” Brittany has been a family member of Birch since 2018, now with her second child, Avery, making strides at the school, she feels like it is a second home. “It’s been great, I can’t thank Birch enough for the experience that it has given my daughter and she has developed in ways that I never imagined. Everyone knows Avery and everyone makes an effort to get to know their students. I feel like it is a family.”

Edward has felt quite the same since enrolling his daughter Marianna in the school this past September. “We love that the school is very personal and big on family,” he said. “You’re never left in the dark and everything you need; they are willing and able to provide. This is something I like to do so I figured we’d make it a family event.”

The love for Birch is the very reason Edward and Brittany have chosen to lace up their running shoes on race day. “I think it’s a great way to support Birch and raise awareness,” said Brittany. “It gives everyone at Birch the opportunity to thrive and feel successful.” “It’s great to have the feeling of being able to be there for your family and do something you love,” said Edward.

Apart from running, Edward is looking forward to spending time with his family, supporting Birch, and showing thanks. “I’m excited to spend time with my family,” said Edward. “From my experience, Birch has been phenomenal, so we want to enjoy it and show our appreciation for Birch.” This 5K will be Edward’s sixth race event this year, using running as a hobby and a way to improve his health. Although he has run in the New York City and Chicago Marathons, he shared that every race has one common focus: his daughter. “She loves it,” Edward said. “She’s been on the sidelines cheering and will be at the 5K.”

As for Brittany, she is happy Avery will also cheer her on from the sidelines and enjoy the children’s activities. She is also excited to see her Birch family come together for a common cause. “I’m looking forward to being part of something, like a community,” said Brittany. “I am really excited to see all of Birch join together.”

You can join Brittany and Edward and support our 11th Annual 5K Forward: Fast Track to Empowerment race by registering or helping fundraise toward our goal. Find out more here!