United Way of Midland County kicked-off their 2015 community campaign at the third annual Community Colors 5k on Saturday. Nearly 2,000 people came together for the colorful family event, learning about the needs in Midland County and ways they can help.

“From our fastest runner to our steady strollers and kids at the Obstacle Course, everyone had a fun and color-filled day,” shared Ann Fillmore, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County. “We have such a connected and caring community, and seeing that in action is an inspiration to everyone.”

Lining up for the race at Northwood University was an adventure. Many of the United Way partner agencies served as Ambassadors of Fun, with engaging activities to keep the energy up and everyone having a great time. Activities ranged from a photo booth, hula-hoop contests, tattoos and marshmallow fights to face painting, clowns and cheerleaders to get into the colorful spirit.

At the halfway mark, participants were encouraged by six local mascots and the Midland High Drum Line. At the finish line, racers were welcomed with a huge blast of color from the new color cannons, along with music and fun activities for all.

Over 300 community volunteers helped to bring the event to life, helping kids through the Color Obstacle Course and throwing color at racers at nine different color stations along the race route.

“You couldn’t help but break out into a smile as you watched the young and the young at heart,” shared Holly Miller, Vice President of United Way of Midland County. “The giggles of children getting covered in color at the Obstacle Course were mixed with the guffaws of the adults doing a group rendition of the YMCA dance.

One young participant was so excited about her first race and shyly shared “My new shoes are pink. See them? They make me fast.”

Racers of all ages were educated along the course about the needs in our community and inspired by many ways that each of us can build a stronger community.

“Every one of us has something to offer, something to help someone or to improve lives,” shared Jim Nigro, 2015 United Way Campaign Chair. “But when we come together incredible things happen—we transform lives, the community and ourselves.”

As part of their registration fee, $5 per racer is being invested in the United Way community campaign. That equates to thousands of dollars that will help ensure that all families and individuals reach their full potential.

Many organizations are just beginning to kick-off their campaigns but are already reporting strong progress. Numerous companies conduct early pacesetter campaigns to get the momentum started.

“We are off to a strong start, reporting early pledges of $344,574,” shared Ann Fillmore.  “This represents an impressive 7% of our $4,900,000 goal for 2015. Our community has a long history of coming together for change and today we did it in a fun and colorful way.”

Follow the campaign progress over the next seven weeks by visiting www.unitedwaymidland.org. For more information, call United Way at (989) 631-3670.