The Men of Nehemiah held a half kilometer donut fun run from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 9th at Red Bud Park.
The event encouraged people to, “Stand with the Men of Nehemiah and other local organizations in challenging the stigma of substance abuse, in Christ, service, and second chances!”
A worship service produced by the organization was also held after the half kilometer run and walk. Cassie Mwema, a senior social work major from Dallas, was one of the student volunteers for the event.
“The fun run’s purpose is to build a stronger community around the men of Nehemiah and to show people the good work that is being done in Abilene by the men there,” Mwema said. “The men there are doing life changing transformation in themselves and others and people should know about it. Hopefully seeing them praise and tell their stories will cause them to want to take action or help in any way the community can.”
The Men of Nehemiah is a Christian organization designed to rebuild the lives of men and families that have been torn apart by the vicious onslaught of poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, crime and violence. They strive to retrieve, renew, rebuild and restore those involved in their organization.
The event on Saturday was the first ever fundraiser for the organization since their inception in 2010. Anna Wasson, a junior social work major from Corinth, said the event had a good turnout for the relatively small organization.
“The men in this program are worth investing in,” Wasson said. “There are organizations in Abilene that help really vulnerable populations that they don’t always know about.”
One of Wasson and Mwema’s macro social work classes had groups partnering with several different organizations in Abilene. Both students chose to work with Men of Nehemiah who currently have four staff members. They collaborated with the organization to create a fundraiser, t-shirts, advertising and registration for the event.
“This was truly an opportunity for the men of Nehemiah to showcase themselves and hopefully launch events like this one in the future,” Mwema said. “The work there has just begun and there is always room for people to aid.”
Men of Nehemiah has three programs that total nine months: a biblical discipleship program, clinical service program and a military structure to help those in recovery get back on their feet.
When the organization first came to their class, they brought one of their members to tell his story of the impact Men of Nehemiah has had on his life.
“It was really impactful because people think of situations with addiction as far off when in reality there are probably more people struggling with it than we know on ACU’s campus,” Wasson said. “The fact that there are people struggling who you may not think of, there are organizations who want to help them.”