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Start the new year on the right foot

Micromarathon to benefit foster children


FILE PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE  - Run with the Strealys, from left, Alden, Niki, Ethan, Audra and Aiden on New Years Day in the second Micromarathon to benefit Oregons foster children.

The Strealy family of Lake Oswego is again hosting a Micromarathon, a 2.62-mile fun run to take place New Year’s Day at George Rogers Park in Lake Oswego. Held last Jan. 1 for the first time, the event is a fundraiser benefitting children in foster care with Oregon Department of Human Services.

“We had a great start in 2015,” Alden Strealy said. “We were able to donate six iPad minis, plus extras, to Clackamas County Foster Care. These will be used for education and entertainment during the kids’ transition times.”

Strealy and his wife, Niki, have three children and have been foster parents to two young children, whom they refer to as “The Smalls,” for the past two years. The inspiration for the Micromarathon was the result of their experience as foster parents.

The Strealys explained that foster children see their natural parents up to three times each week at the Department of Human Services offices in Oregon City. In her case, Niki Strealy drives the Smalls to and from the office once each week and DHS provides transportation for the other visits.

“It takes half an hour each way. And some children must travel one-and-a-half hours one way to the visitations,” said Niki in an interview with The Review in 2014. “These are infants through teenagers. Not only are the trips long, they are often traumatic, as visits with natural parents are stressful, with separation and uncertainty of where they are going and what will happen.”

Every case is different, the couple explained. Natural parents are not allowed to drive their children or know where they are living while they are in foster care, making it necessary for transportation to be facilitated by DHS. Unfortunately, foster children are not allowed to eat in DHS vehicles and are allowed to bring just one toy.

To make the trips more comfortable for foster children, the Strealys came up with the idea of equipping DHS vehicles with iPads or similar devices to provide movies, games and entertainment during the trips to DHS offices. Proceeds from the Jan. 1, 2015 Micromarathon funded the purchase of six iPad minis for the program.

Proceeds from the 2016 Micromarathon will be used to equip DHS vehicles in Clackamas, Washington and Multnomah counties with iPads or similar devices, movies, games and entertainment, with plans to expand to other Oregon counties as funds are available.

“This will be an exciting activity for the whole family and 100 percent of the money will be donated to the Oregon Department of Human Services for kids in foster care,” Alden Stealy said. “Bring your family and friends and start the new year on the right foot.”

The Micromarathon will start at 10 a.m. Jan. 1, 2016 at George Rogers Park, 611 S. State St. in Lake Oswego. Registration fee is $26.20 for race registration and T-shirt. To register, visit micromarathon.com.

Contact Barb Randall at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or email brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com.

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