5K run/walk on Jan. 4 will benefit nonprofit preschool
by Sally Litchfield
December 28, 2013 08:38 PM | 2305 views | 0 0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Wonderful Days Preschool 4-year-old students Andy Vicente and Nehemias Lopez play a counting game to teach them math skills inside Alexandra Henao’s classroom. The preschool, inside the St. James Church in Marietta, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014.  <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Wonderful Days Preschool 4-year-old students Andy Vicente and Nehemias Lopez play a counting game to teach them math skills inside Alexandra Henao’s classroom. The preschool, inside the St. James Church in Marietta, is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2014.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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The 9th annual Wonderful Days of Winter 5K and 1 mile run is Jan. 4 starting at 8 a.m. The race benefits Wonderful Days Preschool, a community outreach program of St. James’ Episcopal Church in Marietta.

The run/walk begins and ends at the main parking lot across the railroad tracks at St. James’ Episcopal Church (at the corner of Polk Street).

Started in 1974, Wonderful Days seeks to transform the lives of at-risk children through quality preschool education.

“(The preschool) is tuition-free always. It’s for children who otherwise would not have a preschool experience,” said retired teacher Jane Stoddard, who volunteers with the preschool and serves as a board member.

The school, a nonprofit, evolved from a one day per week preschool for low-income families to currently offering two preschool classes for 3-year-olds and two classes for 4-year-olds. Students receive breakfast and lunch and free transportation.

“(Students) are taught preschool skills — everything they need to be successful when they get to public school. Most importantly, they are taught English. These children enter public school on equal footing and have a chance for real success. It’s vital to these children who are citizens and for them to have the tools they need,” said Stoddard, who is married to Mike Stoddard, senior judge of Cobb County Superior Court.

The school operates through grants, stipends, fundraisers and donations.

“Keeping the preschool going and keeping it funded is tough even though we’ve had wonderful support. This race is very important part of the overall budget of the preschool,” she said.

An offshoot of the preschool is English for Busy Moms where volunteers teach women necessary life skills, such as what to do at a teacher conference. The program is in cooperation with the church’s neighbor, First Presbyterian Church of Marietta, which volunteers a bus and driver to transport women.

“The school tried to provide what the community needed. It’s really a remarkable program,” Stoddard said.

For race information, contact Anne Patrick at (404) 274-8866 or email annecpatrick@bellsouth.net or Pacesetter’s P.R. at (678) 795-0015 or email pacesetr@bellsouth.net.

The entry fee is $25. No shirt option is $15. Credit cards are accepted on race day. Awards, door prizes and post-race food and activities are included.

Register at GeorgiaRunner.com or on race day beginning at 7 a.m. Phantom runners are welcome. Make checks payable to Wonderful Days Preschool, Inc. and mail to Pacesetters P.R., P.O. Box 81777, Atlanta 30366.

St. James’ Episcopal Church at 161 Church St., Marietta.

To learn more about the school, visit wonderfuldaysprek.org.

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