Jewish music sensation Lipa Schmeltzer has announced that he will be running (or perhaps strolling) in the 3rd Annual 5K Run/Walkathon on behalf of Our Place NY on Sunday, October, 27 at Floyd Bennett Field. Through its 5K, Our Place NY, New York’s premier organization offering at-risk Jewish youth a second chance, will be raising awareness and much-needed funds for at-risk youth in our communities, suffering from drug addiction, abuse, depression, and other life debilitating circumstances.
“The Youth of Our Place have always been close to my heart. I see and sense their pain; but together as a tzibbur we need to do more to support these struggling youth, and help to lovingly bring them back to our community,” Lipa explained. With just one week left until the race, Lipa knows he has ambitious goals. “I want to really help Our Place do its incredible, lifesaving work. I will be creating my own team for the race, Team Lipa. My goal is to raise an additional $50,000 and get at least 100 additional participants to join me on my team.” (Almost $90,000 is already pledged with $72,000 already paid and over 300 participants are already registered to run). In exchange for their support and participation, Lipa promises that all runners of Team Lipa will receive personalized photo-ops, Team Lipa T‑shirts, as well as special participation in a post-run concert that he will be performing live at the event, as soon as he crosses the finish line. To run with Lipa or just support his efforts, please visit the Teamourplace.org homepage.
Rabbi Aryeh Young, executive director of Place NY, explained, “We are absolutely thrilled to have Lipa joining us. His participation will bring a boost of energy and excitement to an already fun filled day. Whether one is a competitive runner, a casual jogger, or just want to walk with friends, a 5K Run/Walkathon is a great way to get out with friends and family on a Sunday morning, enjoy Lipa in concert, raise some money for a very special tzedakah, and get some much-needed post-yom tov exercise.”
The 5K Run/Walkathon, which will take place at Floyd Bennett Field, is a unique event, hosted exclusively by Our Place NY. This exclusivity enables separate men’s and women’s races (staggered 30 minutes apart), something rarely available to the Orthodox community. Eli Verschlieser, cofounder of Our Place, thanked Lipa profusely for his support. “Lipa’s offer to assist Our Place comes just at the right time. More than ever, we need the backing and support of our community. Over 100 teens are rolling through our teen drop-in centers each night. They count on us for dinner, therapy, mentors, safety from violence, rehab placements, and so much more. We are truly fortunate that Lipa understands the critical role we play in the community and we hope that others will follow his example in their support of the at-risk youth population in our communities.”
In addition to Team Lipa, this year’s race features a number of teams representing various local organizations, schools, and companies, including teams from Rambam Mesivta, Lander College for Men, B & H Photo, as well as a special team honoring the family of Rabbi Zvi Gluck, director of crisis intervention at Our Place.
Founded in 1998, Our Place NY is a registered nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating transformative personal growth in at-risk Jewish teens and young adults, currently struggling with substance abuse, severe crisis, and other unhealthy life circumstances. Our Place runs a wide array of services including teen drop-in centers, 12-step support groups, mentoring programs, a 24-hour crisis hotline, extensive drug rehabilitation and therapy placement networks, an “alternative” high school, as well as vocational and educational placement services. Our Place creates a nonjudgmental and stable environment that provides the basic needs of survival that a healthy family would typically provide, including basic physiological necessities, physical safety, and an unconditional demonstration of love and belonging. Through this far-reaching and “Whole Life Therapy” approach, Our Place provides troubled youth with a second chance; an opportunity to serve as a source of everlasting pride to their family, community, and Jewish heritage.
To join Team Lipa, create your own team, or to register as an individual, please visit TeamOurPlace.org to sign up today! For more information on corporate sponsorships opportunities, Our Place’s services, or other questions related to the race, please contact Our Place executive director, Rabbi Aryeh Young, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 516-512-4494. For more information about Our Place NY, please visit OurPlaceNY.org. v