“What sets 4KIDS BiG Cardio apart is that it’s designed specifically to bring the community together by making sure there’s an activity for everyone—even if it’s simply enjoying a morning cup of Starbucks while you cheer on the 5K finishers, or playing a round of miniature golf with your family in the Fun Zone,” says 4KIDS BiG Cardio founder, Joyce Feldman.
There are plenty of ways to get involved. While you can register for the 5K Run/Walk, fitness classes and sports tourneys, you don’t have to be a sports or fitness enthusiast to make a BiG impact in our community. Not only can you show up for the event (and bring some friends) or sign up to volunteer—plenty of help is needed to pull off this event—there are two ways to financially support 4KIDS through the 7th Annual 4KIDS BiG Cardio without even leaving your couch: you can sponsor a participant through their individual fundraising page or make a general donation at BiGCardio.org.
Now in its seventh year, BiG Cardio is 4KIDS’ biggest annual event, with a goal of 3,000 participants this year and $300,000 to raise. But it started out more as a BiG vision than a BiG event.
“Along with my professional career in Corporate Development and Mass Communications, I’ve been involved in the fitness industry doing events and fundraisers for charities for many years. God put in my heart to do something similar for 4KIDS where he can be glorified and the organization can be highlighted,” says Joyce. “After sharing the vision with 4KIDS Executive, Tom Lukasik, we soon had a BiG Cardio event on the calendar and preparations went into high gear. Even in that first year before the full vision was realized, God confirmed through our event name and logo that he was in it: B.i.G.—Believe in God.”
A model of success
4KIDS of South Florida has been standing in the gap for abused, abandoned and neglected children for 17 years, changing the lives and futures of over 18,000 kids in the South Florida area.
“As a result of sharing our model of bringing the church and state together to care for the modern-day orphan, 4KIDS has been identified as a model for faith-based foster care by the former Director of the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, Jed Medefind,” says 4KIDS VP of Community Engagement, Tom Lukasik, who has had opportunities to talk about 4KIDS at the White House, in our State Capitol, and in other organizations across the nation.
Chasing the challenge
With a mission and vision to provide hope and homes for kids in crisis, 4KIDS goes well beyond foster care to include programs that meet the needs of young women in crisis pregnancies, girls at risk of sexual exploitation, and teenagers who have aged out of the system.
“I’m not really into running—pretty much the only time you’ll see me run is if I’m being chased!” said 4KIDS President, Doug Sauder. “But every year I create a team—The Tribe—and train to run the 4KIDS BiG Cardio 5K, Fitness and Sports because regardless of how much of a challenge it is for me, it’s nothing compared to the challenge faced by thousands of kids in our local area, or the challenge we face as a community to help them.”
And it’s a growing challenge, because every year more and more kids in Palm Beach and Broward counties find themselves in need of hope and a loving home. On the flipside, though, there are individuals willing to take a giant leap to overcome their own obstacles and step up to help them: last year 17-year-old Mat Reardon, who can barely walk unassisted due to cerebral palsy from a near-drowning accident as a toddler, completed the 5K with the support of his team, Faster Than Molasses, which also raised over $10,000 for kids in crisis.
Mat and his team made a strong statement that everyone can do something.
A Morning to Move. Sweat. Give.
There are many ways to maximize your morning and help kids in crisis the first Saturday in May. Following the 5K Run/Walk, stick around for fitness classes like cardio, Zumba, CrossFit, stationary cycling, and KidFit classes or join in the basketball, flag football, soccer, volleyball, and kickball sports tourneys. There’s even an obstacle course and climbing wall, as well as bounce houses, face painting, food trucks, concessions and merchant booths.
Look out for the community-minded corporations, local businesses, and ministries that contribute significantly to the success of 4KIDS BiG Cardio each year, and show up with interactive and informative activities, presentations, contests and giveaways. Major sponsors such as Walgreens, Publix, Chick-fil-A, Starbucks, and Ryder have been supporting the mission and event for several years.
Up for the challenge?
Sign Up: Register as an individual, create a team, or join a team.
Sponsor: Donate to an individual or team, or make a general gift to 4KIDS BiG Cardio.
Serve: Volunteers are the backbone of this event.
It’s all at BiGCardio.org.
For Sponsorship information, please contact Joyce Feldman at 954-556-4677 or JoyceF@4KIDSofSFL.org