On Saturday, May 30, more than 60 robust kids headed to Springbrook Park for a junior triathlon, held at to raise awareness for adoptions. This was the first year for Harmony Adoptions’ Kids Triathlon, which was organized and underwritten by Raceday Events. Kids ages 7-10 competed in a 100 meter swim, a 2.5 mile bike ride, and a .75 mile run. The 11-15-year-olds competed in a 200 meter swim, a 5 mile bike ride, and a 1.5 mile run.
After finishing their races, the kids were treated to ice cream and refreshments, and given medals and official race T-shirts. An awards ceremony recognized the winners in each age group, with proud parents and families looked on. Community volunteers, including about a dozen members of the Fleet Feet Sports running club, helped out with the triathlon.
“It was a great success,” said Jim Norwood of Harmony Adoptions. “We were expecting maybe 30-40 kids, and we had 60.” Though the event broke even, this first year was primarily about awareness, Norwood assures. Harmony intends to make the Kids Triathlon an annual event, along with the many others they conduct to raise both money and awareness. Among the most popular events are Chillin’ for Children, during which supporters to jump into the Little River in February, and the Journey Home bike ride across Tennessee.
Harmony representatives say they were able to give information about adoption to several families, and hope the event will continue to give interested families an opportunity to learn about adoption. Harmony Adoptions works mostly through contracts with Department of Children’s Services, which is responsible for the more than 400 children in state custody, most of whom are 12 years old or older. Placing these children in “forever homes” is Harmony’s primary goal. Many of these kids have recorded videos, called “In My Own Words,” which can be viewed at http://www.parentachild.org/, describing their desires for families.
Up next for Harmony is this year’s Adoption Tour bike ride. The traditional route has taken riders from Memphis to Knoxville, but this year’s trek, clocking in 433.7 miles, will bring adoption awareness to some new cities, from Johnson City to Nashville. All the riders are adoption advocates, among them adoptive parents and adopted kids, and the Tennessee Highway Patrol will be escorting the group along the whole route. For more information about the bike ride, visit http://adoptiontour.org/.
Information about Harmony and about adoption can be found at http://www.harmony.cc/. Harmony Adoption Services is located at 131 Cherokee Heights Dr. in Maryville, and can be reached at 865-982-5225.