Festive 5K draws big crowds, helps community

Annual event benefits Coatesville Youth Initiative

By Lauren Parker-Gill, Staff writer, The Times


Cross country coach Jonah Gellner, Scott Middle School principal Chamise Taylor and race participants Justin and Lauren Reed gathered at the finish line after the Festive 5K at Scott Middle School. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Okumura.

COATESVILLE – Hundreds of runners and walkers gathered at Scott Middle School Saturday for the sixth annual Festive 5K run, 1-mile walk, which is organized by the Brandywine Health Foundation and benefits the Coatesville Youth Initiative, and has become a holiday tradition in the area.

The Coatesville Youth Initiative (CYI) was once a part of the Brandywine Health Foundation and became an independent nonprofit organization in January 2014. CYI works directly with 2,000 youth, ages 12 – 24 in the Coatesville area. The organization works to promote positive youth development, address social concerns, and strengthen family relationships.

Stephanie Vargas, associate director of special events with Brandywine Health Foundation, states that a committee of volunteers formed six years ago to organize the race and now consists of 15 volunteers. The committee has held the same chairman, David Lapp, since its inception.

In 2014, the race raised approximately $50,000 and while final numbers are not in yet, Vargas says they hope to bring in even more for this year. The funds help support CYI’s ServiceCorps Youth Leadership program.

According to CYI’s executive director Chaya Scott, the ServiceCorps program is also in its sixth year and provides youth with an eight-week employment experience that builds leadership skills and engages adolescents through community building activities and service projects.


Excitement filled the air as the race kicked off at Scott Middle School Saturday morning, to benefit the Coatesville Youth Initiative. Photo courtesy of Cari Jones.

“CYI is proud to empower and enable youth, so they have the necessary tools to be leaders in their lives, and to their peers, while taking ownership of their community.” Scott said in an email.

The excited crowd of runners and walkers of all ages began forming in front of Scott Middle School around 8 a.m. on the beautiful, sunny morning. After the beautiful singing of the national anthem by Aja Thompson and Dayvon Bladen from CYI, the race began promptly at 9 a.m.

Students, teachers and administrators of the Coatesville Area School District were among the 485 participants and included superintendent Dr. Cathy Taschner, and assistant to the superintendent for curriculum and learning, Dr. Kimberly Donahue, as well as the principal of Friendship Elementary, Brad Bentman, school board vice president Ann Wuertz, director of elementary education & curriculum instruction 3 – 5 and special education k – 5, Jason Palaia, and art teacher at Reeceville Elementary, Greg Jaskot.

The overall winners of the race included:


First – Brooke Hutton, age group 15-17

Second – Emily Shaw, age group 15-17

Third – Savannah Shaw, age group 12-14


Of note: all three female winners generously donated their prize money back to the Coatesville Youth Initiative.



First – Owen Dawson, age group 21-29

Second – Kyle Dawson, age group 21-29

Third – Johnny Carnes, age group 18-20


For a complete list of the results, please visit:



Sponsors of the Festive 5K included:


Harmony Sponsors:

Chester County Food Bank – Mr. and Mrs. Robert D. McNeil

One Harmony Sponsor wishes to remain Anonymous



Kaitlyn McNeil and Marc Ward

Mr. and Mrs. Michael Moran

Tyler and Ale McNeil

One Coates Sponsor wishes to remain Anonymous




Arthur J. Gallagher & Co.

Sycamore Racing


Water Station:

Pennsylvania American Water



Brandywine Hospital


Mr. and Mrs. Earl Devanny, III

Di and Dallas Krapf

Audrey J. and David G. Lapp

Life and Health Insurance Services, Inc.

MacElree Harvey, Ltd.



Bentley Systems, Inc.

CCIU Practical Nursing Program

Child Guidance Resource Centers


Comprehensive Cancer Care

Emry Family

Freedom Village Brandywine Outreach Committee

Hughes and Hughes Family Dentistry

Karen and Jim Lisa

Natural Lands Trust

Frances M. Sheehan and Ricardo Gelman, M.D.


Sam Slater and Lornie Forbes

United Way of Chester County



The Beringer Group

Breuninger Insurance, Inc.

Capacity for Change

ChesPenn Health Services, Inc.

Coatesville Center for Community Health

Laurie and Tom Hyndman

Jackson Cross Partners

James J. Terry Funeral Home

Law Firm of Barry S. Rabin

Magnus Karate

Margaret and Tom Rivello

Nicolas Accounting Group, LLC

The Ollis Family


Royal Paper Products, Inc.

United Steelworkers 1165

David J. Wierz


*Three Madison Sponsors wish to remain Anonymous




Ethel Backenstose

Brandywine Gastroenterology Associates

Brite Realty Services, Inc.

Coatesville Area Senior Center

Countryside Consulting, Inc.


Episcopal Church of the Trinity

Florence Goldfine

Givler’s Barber Shop

Handi-Crafters Inc.

The Heiman Family

John S. Price Jeweler, Inc.

Kevin R. McClure

JoAnn Tarrant, LPC

TwistnShout Design


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