University of Rochester

EVENT: Registration Open for 2010 River Run for Youth Harmony

April 23, 2010

Registration is open for the 2nd Annual River Run for Youth Harmony slated for Friday, June 4, at 7 p.m. The 5K run, which begins at Staybridge Suites Hotel (at the corner of Brooks Avenue and Genesee Street), is organized by the 19th Ward Community Association and the University of Rochester's M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence.

The course takes runners along both banks of the Genesee River, through Genesee Valley Park, and finishes by crossing the pedestrian bridge back to the hotel in Brooks Landing. After the race, Staybridge Suites will provide free refreshments and local musicians will perform. Prizes will be awarded to the top finishers in various categories.

The event was founded last year by Marissa Balonon-Rosen, an undergraduate at the University of Rochester, and J. B. Afoh-Manin, the president of the 19th Ward Community Association. She was a senior at Wilson Magnet High School at the time and wanted to help youth understand alternatives to violence while Afoh-Manin has had a long time interest in promoting better health through exercise. With help from members of Wilson's National Honor Society and support from Jim Dalberth Sporting Goods and other local business leaders, Balonon-Rosen and Afoh-Manin organized the first run. The run attracted more than 200 registrants and raised about $1,500 to fund nonviolence training for youth-at-risk.

This year, the Gandhi Institute has joined the list of organizers. In addition to being a dual degree student at the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, Balonon-Rosen is also a Gandhi Service Scholar and will use this race has her service project. Additional sponsors include Tops Friendly Markets and the Heart Coalition for a Drug-Free Rochester. Proceeds from the run will benefit Teen Empowerment and the Southwest YMCA, which both run programs that promote nonviolence among neighborhood youth.

Entry fees for the race are $18 prior to June 1 and $20 after that date. Interested participants can register by visiting; entry forms and additional information can also be found at For more information, e-mail