By Madysen McLain
Zozibini Tunzi, the 2019 Miss Universe from South Africa, once said, “We should be given every opportunity. And that is what we should be teaching these young girls…to take up space. Nothing is as important as taking up space in society and cementing yourself.” The Project Girl Mentoring Program—a Lynnwood-based nonprofit—will host the inaugural Take Up Space 5K, which is inspired by Tunzi’s quote. The event, which takes place at McCollum Park Athletic Field in Everett, will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16. Olympia Edwards, the program founder and executive director, said the mentoring program supports girls of color by helping them develop healthy relationships and life skills in hopes of fostering positive outcomes. “To take up space means to take up space in society, to take up space in the home and to take up space in education,” Edwards said. “It’s my way of saying you’re going to take control of what you want for your own health and wellness.” Since its creation in 2012, she said, Project Girl has mentored more than 950 young women. Edwards said she hopes the event will raise awareness about the mentoring program, as well as funds to continue cost-free support for young women the nonprofit serves. She added 100% of the proceeds will go toward the program. She said everyone is welcome to attend the 5K, including runners, walkers, skippers and dancers. Participants will follow a loop around McCollum Park about seven times, Edwards noted. Motivational quotes saying “you got this” and “keep on going” will be sprawled around the course, she said. Throughout the race, a DJ will play uplifting tunes while a coffee cart and popcorn machine provides snacks. “We decided to create the Take Up Space 5K because one of our main missions is to create and build up the voices of young women that we work with,” Edwards said. “By doing a 5k we’re letting the community know that we are active and that we are nourishing our goals and our ambitions as we grow.” Those interested in attending the event must register prior to the race. Edwards said registration fees cover a “swag bag” and finisher ribbon. Young women ages 11–18 can also pick up a period pack and sports bra, she added.To learn more about the Take Up Space 5K, visit project-girl.com/takeupspace5k.