Dash on the Ditch back in LL


It’s time to put on the running shoes for the second annual Dash on the Ditch fundraiser at Heritage Park in Los Lunas from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 5.

Registration is open for a 10K run, a 5K run and walk, and a mile family walk. Participants can pre-register at 7:30 a.m. the day of the event, for a few dollars more.

Submitted photo: The second annual Dash on the Ditch fundraiser will run from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, at Heritage Park. The event raises money for the nonprofit organization, La Vida Felicidad, which provides free and reduced-rate programs and services to Valencia County children, adults with disabilities, and senior citizens.

Teams are welcome, and there will be medals for the top teams and individuals.

Everyone is invited to participate in the Zumba dance warm-up before the race. Music will be provided by Jam Session with disc jockey Andy Gomez. Three different water stations along the course will provide water and portable rest rooms.

The Knights of Columbus, local Council 9340 will be selling breakfast burritos, and donating half of the proceeds to the fundraiser.

Free activities for children include face-painting and jumpers as well as the playground.

During the event, a silent auction will offer such goodies as a 13-inch, Navajo-made Fox Dancer Kachina, a champagne hot-air balloon ride, a classy gray Lobo jacket, a suede duffle and toiletry bag, and many other items, including a variety of gift cards.

This year’s goal is to double the $7,000 raised last year.

La Vida Felicidad offers programs and services for children and senior citizens.

“We started this event because we wanted to be able to generate more funds for these programs so we could increase our programs,” said Katie Otero, executive secretary. “But also, to get the word out and let people know what we offer.”

La Vida Felicidad is a nonprofit, community-based organization providing services for children with disabilities, early intervention for children with developmental disabilities or delays, respite services, home health care for people with disabilities and adult day programs.

The nonprofit also has the only four-star licensed child care center in Valencia County. It is open to children as young as 6 weeks old to 5 years old, and follows a prekindergarten curriculum standard.

It’s open to the public, and we do accept CYFD’s (Children, Youth and Family Development) subsidies,” said Otero.

Most of the programs and services are free to eligible families through Medicaid and the Department of Health, and there is a low rate private-pay home care program for people above the income eligibility.

La Vida Felicidad is able to offer its services through funding from government contracts, donations from foundations, private businesses and individuals, as well as fundraising.

The organization has also begun serving families in Albuquerque and Socorro.

“We’ve been in Valencia County for 30 years, and now we just started services out in Cibola County,” Otero said. “We have early intervention services out there, and then we’ve had home care and respite services out in Socorro.”

La Vida Felicidad serves about 1,000 individuals, most of whom are in Valencia County.

Major sponsors of the event include BNSF Railway, Rio Metro and Larry H. Miller dealership.

La Vida Felicidad organized the event in partnership with Los Lunas Parks and Recreation and street department, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, Smith’s, Employee Benefit Specialists, the Graphic Arts Station, All-American Jumpers, and Benefits Plus Inc.

Registration is available online at www.active.com, and registration forms are available at the Los Lunas Transportation Center and La Vida Felicidad facilities. Go to www.lvfnm.org to the Dash on the Ditch link for other locations.

The second annual Dash on the Ditch is open to the public. The course is along the irrigation ditch behind Heritage Park at 3447 Lambros Road at the Y.

-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.