Three Cayman charities focussed on social needs within the community were announced Thursday as the beneficiaries of this year’s Deputy Governor’s 5K Challenge.

Deputy Governor Franz Manderson said he decided this year to focus on charities that helped Cayman’s children, and chose the Special Needs Foundation Cayman, the Alex Panton Foundation and the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre.

“I thought it would be a great thing to bring these charities together,” Manderson said, following the announcement, where he spotlighted the work each organisation does.

The annual fundraising walk/run is typically held early in the year – last year’s events were in April – but is being moved to September this year.

“A lot of people have asked why we have changed the date,” Manderson said. “It was not because I had my appendix out,” he added with a laugh.

Instead, he said, some of the people who help mount the event were also involved in the CARIFTA Games, which Cayman hosted in May, and he thought it would have been too burdensome to ask them to do both events back-to-back.

The 5K challenge will be held in the Brac on 15 Sept. and on Grand Cayman on 29 Sept. There will be no Little Cayman edition of the event this year, Manderson said, as it is the low point of the off-season when hotels are often closed.

Last year’s event raised $89,000, which was distributed evenly among five charities.

Susie Bodden, executive leader of the Special Needs Foundation, said the money the foundation receives will likely be used to support a newly implemented inclusion programme, which supports special needs students in mainstream classrooms.

“We provide professional development and in-class coaching,” she said, giving teachers and aides the tools they need to integrate and meet the needs of students with learning disabilities.

Studies have shown, Bodden added, that such integration benefits not only the special needs students but the classroom as a whole.

Another school programme, this one aimed at teaching children how to communicate their feelings, will also be helped by the fundraising event. Shane Purcell of the Alex Panton Foundation said some of the money will be used to support the organisation’s emotional literacy programme, which was launched earlier this school year.

“We’re going to educate the teachers, so they can start educating the kids on a daily basis,” Purcell said.

The Cayman Islands Crisis Centre’s outreach coordinator Mehr Lamba said funds from the 5K challenge will likely be used for a new shelter for victims of domestic abuse.

Lamba said. “We’re anticipating probably over $20,000 from this event, which will be great for our shelter.”

She also expects the event to help raise more awareness about domestic abuse and the services available to address it.

For more information, visit www.caymanactive.com/dg5k.

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