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Tampa Bay's Jack and Jill fundraiser goes virtual this month

The Tutus and Tennis Shoes event raises money and brings awareness to issues affecting African American children and families.

TAMPA, Fla. — Helping expose children to cultural, social and educational experiences is the goal of the Greater Tampa Chapter of Jack and Jill of America.  

This month the organization is hoping to show the entire Tampa Bay area what they do while raising money for some good causes.

This is the second year for the Tutus and Tennis Shoes 5k run/walk, but like most of these types of events, it's had to go virtual. Walkers and runners will need to log those miles on their own using a special app. They've also decided this year to offer a 35 mile walk, run ride challenge since everyone has the entire month of February to get it done. 

Joycelyn Henson is the fundraising chair of the Tampa Bay chapter of Jack and Jill of America and says going virtual had it's challenges. 

 "Last year, it was a 5k. It was outdoors, we had a wonderful experience. The weather was perfect, we had a DJ and vendors and food trucks. So this year we've had to shift and make it virtual," Henson said.

It's been a bit of a struggle to get people involved at the same level, so to make it more interactive participants can join a Facebook group to celebrate their successes. It's also a goal of the organization to bring more health and wellness advice into communities of color.

 "It's a part of who we are and what we do because building the family, sustaining the family, eating right and living healthy helps us to really prevent disease and prevent some of the things that happen to us as we mature," Henson said. 

The event culminates with a virtual health fair on Feb. 27, with question and answer sessions plus cooking and exercise demonstrations.  

"To the extent possible, we're trying to celebrate everybody and get them involved and excited about healthy living," Henson said. 

Follow this link for more information and to sign up for the event.

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