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Miles4Smiles Success! By, Liv Craine

Despite the numerous challenges faced in the past year, Hands4Hope - Youth Making a Difference discovered ways to remain active in the community and continue to benefit local organizations through creative events. Challenged with limited time and opportunities due to the pandemic, the Hands4Hope Youth Board chose to organize Miles4Smiles as a virtual event. Miles4Smiles was a virtual physical challenge where teams of 4 and 6 competed against each other. The teams that accrued the most miles over the seven day time period were The Beaches(team of 6) and The Slow Joes(team of 4).

Planning an event like Miles4Smiles is no easy feat. First, the members of the Youth Board brainstormed who they wanted to benefit and created criteria for what was important to them, like the organization had to be operating safely during COVID, as well as respect the Youth Board members as partners in the effort of raising funds. Next, we had several speakers from different organizations, where we decided we would benefit The Center for Violence-Free Relationships and the Hands4Hope Education Program. Additionally, we had to determine how we could host an event with the ever changing COVID restrictions. After many meetings of brainstorming and researching we decided a virtual miles challenge would be fun and safe to host. To plan Miles4Smiles we divided the Youth Board into smaller committees to evenly distribute the work and make sure people were doing things with the event planning elements they were most interested in helping with. Each committee had a youth chair who was in charge of leading the rest of their committee. All of the committees, Fundraising and Finance, Event Marketing, Tracking and Awards and Event Registration had their own separate meetings, outside the Youth Board meetings, to plan and work on their section of the event.

Congratulations to the winners!

Team Beaches took first place for the 6 person teams accruing 210 miles!

Team The Slow Joes took first place for the 4 person teams accruing 146 miles!

It was one crazy year, but the Hands4Hope Youth Board was still able to raise $1,877 with Miles4Smiles. Thank you to everyone who participated and a big thank you to our sponsors: Mercedes Benz of El Dorado Hills and Christeen Reeg with Captrust!

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