IMMOKALEE — The Running Club at RCMA’s Immokalee Community Academy (ICA) will soon be running with brand new shoes, thanks to a $6,500 grant from the Saucony Run for Good Program. The grant will buy shoes for up to 50 students, with the remaining funds to be spent on registration fees so that the runners can participate in next year’s Lipman Farms 5K Run/Walk for Backpacks.
Since 2005, the Foundation at Saucony has partnered with programs like the one at ICA to support running and fitness programs for children and to help combat and raise awareness of the childhood obesity epidemic.
In order to be eligible for the Running Club, students must be enrolled at ICA in the third through eighth grade with permission to participate from their parents. The running club meets two days per week at the Immokalee Community Park for training from August – May. The specific goals for the ICA Running Club include promoting health and wellness while reducing childhood obesity; provide fitness, sport, and competitive running opportunities for our underserved youth population; and to open doors of opportunities for scholarship and education beyond the charter school.
RCMA is a nationally recognized charter school operator with a second school in Wimauma and a third planned in Mulberry. The national Charter School Growth Fund earlier this year invested $1.275 million in RCMA’s charter school expansion. This spring, Florida’s Department of Education designated RCMA a School of Hope operator, just the sixth since the program in 2017, making the nonprofit eligible for state grants and low-cost loans to assist with its charter school expansion plans.
RCMA is Florida’s largest nonprofit provider of early childhood education, with 65 child development centers in 21 counties. Established in 1965 and headquartered in Immokalee, RCMA has a $98 million budget and 1,600 employees.