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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

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Runnin’ Down A Dream


Image courtesy of Barbara Gildea 

Were you on campus this past summer? If so, it’s likely that you saw a big white tent on the soccer field and maybe wondered what it was for. After all, graduation was long over and done with. You were looking at Camp Shriver, a four-week program located right here at UMass Boston. Camp Shriver is a free camp for children who live in urban areas such as Boston and Brockton, some whose families might not be able to afford to send them away for the summer. Half of the children at the camp have some sort of disability, the highest ratio in the area.

This year a team from Camp Shriver, organized by Barbara Gildea from the UMB Center for Social Development, will be running the Boston Marathon in order to raise awareness and funds for the camp. By raising more funds, Camp Shriver will be able to serve more children in the community and give them a summer camp experience.

Gildea said, “This is the first year we’ve put a team together. I have run marathons before. We’re a good fit because we’re a sports camp, reaching out to both low-income individuals and children with disabilities. We went to the BAA and told them all about how we’re a part of the university and how we serve the community, and they loved it. They recognized that for a smaller program like ours, being able to run the marathon with a team of runners raising money for our cause, it’ll make a huge difference for the number of kids we’re able to serve.”

The camp strives to serve as many kids as possible each year. Gildea said, “At full capacity, we can serve 120 kids, but if we don’t have enough money, we can’t serve that many.” She added, “This team of runners is going to help us raise a significant portion of our funds, and that will really help us continue to serve our kids at capacity.” The camp is funded completely by private and corporate donations, so a marathon team, with a minimum requirement of $4,000 for an individual runner, should really be a huge help to the program.

This team is also a great opportunity for aspiring distance runners. Gildea said, “It’s really difficult to qualify for the Boston Marathon. You have to run at paces that are certainly beyond me or average runners, but it’s still the Boston Marathon. It’s the one that we grew up with on TV. If you’re only going to run one, you should run Boston.” The team will be made up of a diverse group of people with connections to UMass. Gildea said,”In an ideal world we’d have staff who were involved with camp, counselors, and parents of campers as well as students and staff from the university who have seen Camp Shriver, or just really love UMass Boston and care about kids with disabilities.” 

If you’re not a runner there are ways you can get involved. Donations are always appreciated, and can be sent to [email protected]. You can also volunteer to help support the runners while they train for the Patriots Day race. This is a really great chance to not only represent UMass Boston, but to support a truly fantastic cause that is literally close to home. Camp Shriver is doing great things for the community, so we should all pitch in to help them get a team out on the marathon course. 

Applications to run for the team are due by Oct. 31. To pick one up, or for more information, call (617) 287-7250. You can also visit http://www.csde.umb.edu/shriver an apply online.