Walk of Hope

ARROYO GRANDE, CA — In May, the Kennedy Club Fitness in Arroyo Grande, CA, sponsored a 5K run/walk to raise awareness about Kristen Smart, a 19-year-old Cal Poly student who disappeared 10 years ago. The event's purpose was to focus the community's attention on the case and give Smart's family hope about finding her remains. More than 700 people attended the event either as participants or volunteers, and the race raised enough money to complete the Kristen Smart Memorial.

It was the first attempt by Joy Danley, the club's activity director (pictured above), and Mark Pazell, its general manager, at such a large event. Working with a limited budget, the club enlisted several employees as project managers and called upon many small businesses and nonprofit groups for volunteers. A local pizza delivery business placed race information on boxes, and local fraternities and sororities delivered flyers door to door.

The club became passionate about the cause and committed to making it a success, Pazell says. “The community embraced us for our dedication to such a touching cause and our ability to promote it with class,” he says. “We did a remarkable job of aligning ourselves with a great cause and tastefully promoting our business.”