Fund Run set for Feb. 9

South Belt Ellington Leader

The third annual Fund for Teachers Fund Run will take place Saturday, Feb. 9, near the Galleria on South Post Oak Road between Ambassador Way and Lynn lane beginning at 8 a.m.

Founded by Raymond Plank in 2001, FFT’s mission is to raise grant money for teachers to travel during their summer vacations to broaden their horizons and return to share what they’ve learned with students.

To date, more than 2,500 teachers from 47 states have studied and traveled throughout the United States and 100 other countries on seven continents.

The nonprofit organization is supported by foundations, individuals and corporate donors. Since its inception, the group has provided $8,571,804 in grants to 2,609 teachers.

In Houston alone, FFT has awarded grants totaling $1.8 million to more than 500 teachers.

The 2007 Fund Run had more than 1,000 participants and benefited more than 100 local teachers.

FFT grants are awarded to teachers working with students from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. Teachers submit proposals detailing how their fellowship will make them a better teacher and how their improved skills are to be implemented in the classroom, benefiting students, curricula and school. Grants are awarded based on application quality and merit as judged by a committee.

Several teachers with ties to the South Belt have been past grant recipients. Among these are Donna Edwards and Robbie Biggerstaff.

Edwards, a South Belt resident and math teacher at De Zavala Fifth-Grade Center, traveled with a group to Costa Rica to learn about the scientific wonders of the region and to experience immersion in the Spanish language and culture. She attended a two-week intense Spanish language program at the Costa Rica Language Academy. The teacher also went on excursions to places like Tortuguero National Park to study the rich ecological zones and biodiversity of the country and gather scientific information, pictures and videos to show her students upon return.

Biggerstaff, a seventh grade English teacher at Beverly Hills Intermediate, went on a trip last summer to visit the birthplaces of Southern female authors to discover how culture, history and geography inspired their work. She went on a four-week literary tour of three Southern states, visiting the homes of seven women authors, including Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple. She studied the locales that influenced these writers in an effort to better share their stories with her students.

Karen Kovach-Webb, executive director of FFT, is enthusiastic about this year’s event, “Houston has so many wonderful teachers, and it also has a truly generous community of people that want to inspire them to keep doing what they do,” she said, adding, “With the help of people like these, we want to make it possible for more teachers to develop their own talents so they can infuse students with vision and confidence. We are thrilled to host this third Fund Run, and we look forward to seeing a big turnout to show the love for our local teachers.”

The event will feature a 5-kilometer race for children. The top male and female finishers of the 5-kilometer competition will each receive a $100 gift certificate to Fleet Feet.

The children’s race is free, while entry fees for the 5-kilometer contest vary. Early registration is $20 for participants 18 years of age and older and $10 for 17 and younger. Late registration is $25 for 18 and older and $15 for 17 and younger. Early registration ends Friday, Jan. 25. Children under 11 must be accompanied by an adult.

Sign-in and late registration will take place from 7 to 8 a.m. The children’s race will go from 8 to 8:30 a.m., and the 5-kilometer run will begin at 8:30 a.m.

Registration is available online at www.fundforteachers.org or by calling 1-800-681-2667.

Registration fees include a T-shirt and chip timer. Due to city ordinances, pets are not permitted.