Chuck Gordon’s mother, Carol Gordon, helped establish the first literacy program in Jackson County years ago.
The Seymour man said he also has recently started feeling the need to make an effort to get into a little better shape.
That explains his presence at Friday’s second annual READ Jackson County/Plaza Latina Run For Literacy 5K.
“I’ve been exercising a little more,” he said. “This will be my third 5K. Well, the first one this year, I guess. I did the Turkey Trot (at Girls Inc. in Seymour on Thanksgiving Day) and Santa Dash in Brownstown (Dec. 13).”
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“It’s just a good way to get a little healthier,” said Gordon, who brought along his 12-year-old nephew, Noah Jackson.
Noah, who lives in Arizona and plays soccer, said he planned to walk the event and didn’t think he would have any trouble making the distance or with the cold. It was about 35 degrees when the run started at 11:10 a.m.
Kelly Shelton of Freetown also brought along her two grandchildren, Zayda and Sylas Shelton of Columbus.
“I enjoy exercising, and this kind of gives me a little more push to do it,” she said. “They spent the night, and I figure they can all use the exercise.”
She said the event also was a great way to give back to the community and to help those children and others who struggle with reading.
“I hope they raise lots of money today,” she said.
Shelton said she and her grandkids planned to run the 5K but would probably wind up walking some parts of it.
Zayda Shelton said she thought she could complete the race.
Kelly Shelton said she was sure her grandson also could make it.
“He’s a first-timer,” she said. “He’s tough. He can do it.”
Organizer Matt Nicholson, director of READ Jackson/Plaza Latina, said he thought turnout for the event was good.
“This is our only fundraiser of the year,” he said.
Funds raised by the event will help pay for the construction and installation of Little Libraries around Seymour.
The libraries offer books for the taking, and people also can leave books. One is located just outside Nicholson’s business, B2 Bikes and Boards, at 330 S. Chestnut St. in Seymour, and another is located at the Jackson County Visitor Center, 100 S. Broadway St.
“This year, we built 13 Little Libraries, and about six of those are up and running with the others ready to be installed in the spring,” Nicholson said.
READ Jackson County also continues to offer one-on-one tutoring services for those in Jackson County who have issues with reading. Funding is always needed for materials that need to be replaced, he said.
Nicholson said the last numbers he saw showed about 17 percent of the adults in Jackson County read at a third-grade level or lower.
The number of matches tend to vary from month to month, he said.
“Right now, I need a couple of tutors, and if anybody’s interested, they might give me a call,” Nicholson said. He can be reached at 812-523-8688.
English as a second language tutors are always in demand, and materials are needed for those classes, too.
“We’ve been pairing up with McDowell of Columbus to teach ESL classes, and some of recent classes have had as many as 13 people in attendance,” he said.
Patty Eddleman of Elizabethtown said increasing literacy is the main reason she and several family members, including two sisters, from the Columbus area showed up for the event.
She said she and her sister walk every day.
“This is our second 5K walk,” Eddleman said. “We came because of the cause (literacy). We walk every day, but I kind of enjoy these walks.”
Dale Guse of Columbus also came for some of the same reasons.
“I did quite a few 5Ks last year and just want to start off the year on a good foot,” Guse said. “Just like everybody, I’m trying to exercise and lose some weight.”
Jeff Niewedde with Indiana Timing, which provided timing and scoring for the event, said the number of 5Ks and similar events on the schedule has doubled from 20 in 2010 to 40 this past year.
“There are more events today versus 2010 because of the power of social media,” he said.
Results are posted the same day now, and that allows people to see the end result of their efforts quickly, Niewedde said.
“Also, what we hope to believe because of the Indiana Timing effect, which is where races are better equipped and managed so that people enjoy the events each and every time and help come support the nonprofits that each event raises funds for,” he said. “We strive to help events that go on every year and become annual events, versus the one-and-done type races.”