BETHANY—As a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Glenda Bitner knows why the 8th annual Easter Run benefiting the House of Healing is important.
Hundreds of runners participate in the 10K and 5K races and the One-Mile Fun Walk. The event is March 31, at The Cube at Bethany, Council Road.
House of Healing is a local organization that helps teenage girls, many with difficult pasts like Bitner, find emotional and spiritual healing and discover freedom, hope and restoration.
“I wish something like these programs, this place, had been available to me. I was in pain, confused and making poor choices. I needed help, but I had no idea how to ask for it or what that would look like. I didn’t trust adults,” Bitner said.
Currently, Bitner serves as a mentor and one of the Equine Specialists at the House of Healing.
Bitner explained, “I’ve been trained to work with horses and people, creating a safe environment to build relationships with equine and people. These girls come to us with a wide range of issues, some like me, some have been bullied, some are the bullies. The horses are great teachers and mirrors of our emotions. The mentor program helps guide these young ladies and gives them a trusted adult to talk to.”
The Easter Run is professionally timed and sanctioned by USA Track & Field and is open to anyone. Many of the girls and volunteers from the House of Healing, like Bitner, will be participating or helping in the event. After the races, the Easter Family Fun Day starts at 10 a.m. and is open to the public. Free activities include age-divided Easter egg hunts, inflatables and face painting. Local food trucks will be on-site, and a portion of their proceeds will go to the House of Healing.
Heather McAnear, founder and director of the Easter Run said, “I was a high school track and cross country runner, and I still participate in fundraiser runs, so I decided to launch this annual race in 2010 as a way to raise funding for a great cause. Our love for House of Healing grew as our own daughter attended one of the weekly Bible studies and was matched with a mentor in 2014, and that mentoring relationship continues today.”
The House of Healing has three programs that encourage and give hope to teen girls, ages 13-to-17, and their families. Programs include The Authentic Girl Mentoring Program, Tools for Change and the Equine Experience.
The Easter Run will take place March 31 from 9 a.m. – noon at Bethany, Council Road’s The Cube, located at 7903 NW 30th Street. Registration costs are $15 for the Fun Walk, $25 for the 5K and $35 for the 10K. Corporate and private sponsorships are available. Find out more information at house-of-healing.org/easter-run.