Cedar Valley Angels to host “A Race to Embrace”


Courtesy Photo

A virtual race will be taking place later this week to raise awareness for children in foster care.


UNI student Ryan Van Maanen was given an assignment for one of his classes to put together an event for an organization in the Cedar Valley area.  Being a volunteer within the community, Van Maanen knew exactly what organization to choose, Cedar Valley Angels.

Cedar Valley Angels is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Cedar Falls.  The chapter was founded by Derek Kimball in 2018 and is under the direction of the headquarters in Austin, Texas called Austin’s Angels. The organization that is focused on supporting and walking with children in the foster care system as well as the caregivers who open their homes and hearts to foster children.

Cedar Valley Angels holds value in building the community around foster families who have endured struggles. To help build and support the foster family community, they empower their volunteers who are committed to making a difference and giving hope to foster children and those who care for them.

They base their mission off of intentional giving, relationship building and mentorship. Cedar Valley Angels envisions to support each foster child and family by their Love Box groups and the Dare to Dream mentorship program to reach every child and family in the foster care system to feel hopeful and empowered to succeed in life.

Founder Derek Kimball said their model is dependent upon community involvement and building those relationships.

“It’s about being a support network to these families,” Kimball said.

Van Maanen has put together a virtual race in order to raise funds and awareness for the non-profit.  Those who participate are encouraged to walk, run, jog or bike to show their support for the foster care community.

Kimball said Van Maanen and his class group have been in communication with the him and the rest of the Cedar Valley Angels team on details, but the class took the lead on this event.

“He and his group are running it,” said Kimball. “I’m giving feedback along the way and really discussing the ins and outs of what is to come.”

This virtual event will take place Nov. 5 – Nov. 12. Participants can find more information and register on the Cedar Valley Angels website.  They are also encouraged to snap photos of them biking, walking or running and tag Cedar Valley Angels. There will be a social media drawing and raffle prize during the virtual event, the winners will be contacted by Nov. 15.

This event, like the many other events Cedar Valley Angels puts on, is important to raise awareness and make a difference for the foster children in your community.

“The visibility and awareness we get from things like this makes all the difference,” said Kimball. “It stirs people’s hearts and interest, and people want to help.”