AN OFFICIAL line-up of frontline programs to ready children for school has been confirmed for the city's major running festival.
Specialist playgroups, like My Dad and Me, the new toy library and a reading library inspired by country music star Dolly Parton are among programs set to benefit from every step in Run for a Cause.
The Ballarat Foundation is preparing to launch its second annual event early next month while early registrations have opened for an expanded.
Early childhood development is the focus for this year's cause after the Foundation raised more than $31,500 to tackle hunger across the region from the inaugural run.
Money this year will support:
- Ballarat Reads, which delivers high-quality books each month to children from birth until they start school, is one program to receive a boost from this year's run efforts. The Foundation runs the program in partnership with the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and Penguin Books and community partners.
- Playgroup Victoria's hub at Sebastopol Primary School runs seven playgroups, including one for dads and their children and Spanish and Japanese speaking groups. Sessions are also a chance for children and parents to build confidence at the school before they start school.
- Volunteer-run Eureka Mums re-homes pre-loved nursery goods to families in need. This includes equipment, clothing, books and toys.
- Ballarat Toy Library opened its new home at Barkey Square in Ballarat East last week. The library has been running for more than 40 year to allow families a chance to save money and space on toys and offer a chance to meet other families.
- Not-for-profit Eureka Community Kindergarten Association has 27 learning centres across the city for kindergarten, long day care and occasional child care.
- Uniting Ballarat runs multiple programs to promote early childhood development. This includes overseeing four early childhood centres.
- Ballarat Community Health runs the achievement program to help schools and services create healthy places for children to learn and play.
Research shows one in five children are start school behind their peers, according to The Ballarat Foundation. This can be physically, socially and emotionally as well as being behind in their skills such as communication and language.
Run for a Cause aims to raise awareness for ways to the issue and how to support those working on the frontlines in Ballarat to best ready children for school.
The Ballarat Foundation chief executive Matt Jenkins said planning was well underway for Run for a Cause. This is in stark contrast to the inaugural event when the Foundation had three months to pull it off in the wake of CottonOn Group announcing the much-loved Run Ballarat had crossed its finish line.
The Foundation confirmed last month it would add a half-marathon to the event in what will be the first half-marathon fun run in Ballarat for almost a decade.
Run for a Cause will also feature a 10-kilometre run and five-kilometre run and walk with the popular 1km Kids' Dash. Events will be run from a festival precinct in Victoria Park and, apart from the dash, run through tree-lined park and by Lake Wendouree.
Run for a Cause is on November 17.
For more details: run4ac.org
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