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Courtesy photo
Contestants take off at the start of the annual Monster Dash.

Ashland Kiwanis: Celebrating the 10th year of Monster Dash

“KIWANIS: Changing the world one child and one community at a time.”

The Ashland Kiwanis Club takes the Kiwanis motto seriously. The service club members have worked hard over the last decade to build and strengthen their relationships with the Ashland schools to improve the lives of children in our community.

In 2008 the Ashland Kiwanis Club approached the Ashland Schools Foundation about forming a partnership for fundraising for schools and in 2009 the first annual Monster Dash Run for Education was held. They started simple with 5K and Mile Fun Run events, then added a 10K in its third year.

The following year Yogurt Hut joined as title sponsor and the Monster Ball was added as a Friday night kick-off and Halloween party. The Monster Ball and Monster Dash have become the premiere Halloween weekend events in Ashland, raising $175,000 for grants in the Ashland Schools through the sponsorships and donations of over 100 businesses in the Ashland community!

2018 will be a milestone year, with the 10th annual Monster Dash Run for Education in Lithia Park in Ashland.

The Monster Dash weekend kicks off with the Monster Ball from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 26, at the Historic Ashland Armory.

This family-friendly Halloween party is sponsored by Jones Family Dental and has a rockin’ DJ and an all-you-can-eat pasta dinner. Tree House Books organizes activity booths like spooky potion making, Day of the Dead crafts, and a photo booth. For adults there’s a cash beer-and-wine bar and silent auction.

Costumes aren’t required, but they are encouraged, because the main event of the night is an on-stage costume contest with an emcee from Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and fantastic prizes from Renaissance Rose, Ashland Chamber of Commerce gift bucks, and other vendors. This party isn’t just for Monster Dash runners — the entire community is welcome!

On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Monster Dash Run for Education will be held in Lithia Park. The 1-mile Fun Run/Walk starts things off at 10 a.m., followed by the 5K and 10K runs that begin together at 10:45 a.m. The top male and female finisher of each race receives a trophy and cash prizes from sponsor, People’s Bank, and age-group winners receive gift card prizes from one of our generous local businesses. All three races are chip-timed. Running-friendly costumes are encouraged and youth age 18 and under who finish a race receive a finisher’s medal, compliments of sponsor Today’s Dentistry. And behind it all are key sponsors Yogurt Hut and Rogue Valley Runners making sure it all comes together.

Check out the website at www.AshlandMonsterDash.com or call 541-482-8197 for information, to register, and to purchase Monster Ball tickets.

The profits from Monster Dash weekend go to support Impact Grants in the Ashland Public Schools. These grants are for innovative, hands-on projects allowing students to expand their learning in creative ways. Over the years the funds have brought artists, musicians, authors and other experts into classrooms for fun, educational projects; they’ve purchased science and technology equipment to expand learning opportunities and allow students to experiment in ways they couldn’t previously have managed. Students have created organic gardens and hydroponics labs; they’ve painted murals, opened lock boxes by solving math problems, and gone on field trips; they’ve been exposed to dance and yoga with mindfulness training. The opportunities are endless — only a lack of funds limit the possibilities which is why the funds from the Monster Dash events are so important to our schools.

Key Club, a high school arm of Kiwanis

The Ashland High School Key Club is sponsored by the Ashland Kiwanis Club and is a student-led organization whose goal is to encourage leadership through serving others. Key Club members learn to lead and stand for what’s right through service and volunteerism. AHS has a vibrant club. The club helps with Monster Dash events for which they won a district award in 2018, they organize a large fundraising team for Relay for Life and multiple other service projects.

In addition to the Monster Dash events and AHS Key Club, the Ashland Kiwanis Club runs the flag program along Siskiyou Boulevard and throughout Ashland. The club also supports Special Olympics events and children’s cancer programs, gives gifts to needy children at Christmas, supports North Mountain Park’s “new park” and its scholarships, ScienceWorks Bee Displays, and supports schools through multiple reading and buddy programs, essay contests, and scholarships. For more information, see www.ashlandkiwanis.org or call Robert at 630-632-7708.

Editor’s note: This is the first is a series of quarterly reports from the Ashland Kiwanis Club.

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