Ignite Hope Awards Scholarship Funding After Naperville Half Marathon Challenge

After challenging youth in the Ignite Hope program to beat her in the Naperville Marathon, CEO Kate Schneider awards scholarship funding.

​​​Kate Schneider, CEO of Ignite Hope, challenged youth engaged in her program to beat her in this year’s Naperville Half Marathon held in Oct. for the chance to win $1,000 in scholarship funding. Ignite Hope aims to help young adults recovering from addiction achieve and maintain sobriety through physical well-being and giving back to the community. Schneider thought the half marathon was a creative way to motivate those in her program. While no one beat Schneider, she was so proud of those who tried she awarded two scholarships to the two who did best in the half marathon and 5k.

“I’m so proud of all those who stepped up to the challenge and are engaging in the Ignite Hope program so successfully,” says Schneider. “Youth who are working to maintain their sobriety need new social circles, positive activities to keep them busy, and a sense of purpose. Exercise and giving back to the community meets these needs and keeps youth accountable.”

The scholarship funding was awarded to Olivia Radziszewski for the half marathon and Calvin Belek for the 5k. Radziszewski plans to use the funding for her education to gain a counseling degree to go into substance abuse counseling. Balek will use the funding as a catalyst for his new life where he is attending Harper College and taking courses for certification in the electronic engineering trade.

Radziszewski noted that accomplishing the half marathon was a pretty big deal for her. She is also planning to do the Chicago marathon next year and a triathlon in August. She said that she could have never imagined doing a half marathon two and half years ago when she started with Alcoholic Anonymous.

“When I run I feel closer to my mom who passed away in January,” explains Radziszewski. “Through this experience, I have learned that I can do very hard things and push myself past the limit of what I think I can do.”

Radziszewski also explains how Ignite Hope has been a real life-saver for her. She says, “Ignite Hope has really kept me alive in the past year, in the sense that it gave me an outlet that I probably would not have turned to if I did not have access to an exercise program. During my mom's fight with cancer, when I did not want to even get out of bed and face life, I could go to the yoga classes at Core Power where I have my membership. It helped me relax and manage my fear at that time. Still today, it gives me accountability to not fall off the wagon so to speak. When I go to the yoga classes, it always puts me in a better spot than I was before I went.”

Balek also noted that completing the 5k was a gratifying accomplishment that has allowed him to be able to give back to the community and begin to develop healthy hobbies. He left the race with a sense of pride and continued determination. Balek is grateful for the support and opportunities for volunteering Ignite Hope has offered him.

“Ignite Hope has done so much for me, especially with letting me know that people do care that I recover and that my system of support backing me is endless and fruitful,” says Balek. “Ignite Hope has allowed me to further my mental and physical progress by maintaining my health and sanity at the gym as well as pushing me to become involved with the community. But most importantly, it has restored my faith in my own development and continues to facilitate my progression into reentering society as a positive and productive member.”

Ignite Hope works with young adults aged 16 to 25 who are in recovery from substance abuse and are already engaged in an out-patient treatment program or are working with an addiction therapist. Ignite Hope’s program works to both enhance these therapeutic efforts and provide the additional supports youth need to aid in their long-term recovery. It does this by empowering youth to get fit and give-back to their community.

Through strategic partnerships formed with both fitness facilities and other nonprofits, Ignite Hope provides youth with free monthly membership passes in exchange for volunteering once a month. After being in the program for a year, youth are eligible for a scholarship awarded by the organization’s board of directors.

To learn more about the organization and to make a donation to help motivate youth to continue their journey, visit Ignite-Hope.org.

About Ignite Hope

Ignite Hope is a nonprofit organization based in Arlington Height, Illinois that provides a program based on physical exercise and volunteering as a way to help young adults aged 16 to 25 achieve and maintain sobriety. For more information, visit Ignite-Hope.org.

Media Contact / Media Interviews

Kate Schneider, CEO Ignite Hope
Phone: 847-630-2255
Email: info@ignite-hope.org

Source: Ignite Hope