PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Dozens of runners ran through Laura Bradley Park in Peoria on Saturday morning, May 14, to raise funds that will help women gain additional support to pursue higher education.

Peoria’s Women in Leadership of Central Illinois is offering $1,000 scholarships through the Community Foundation of Central Illinois to Tri-County are working women returning to school for business and management.

Board member and race organizer Yvonne Long said this year she was able to award scholarships to two women. She said the race would help them continue their mission.

Long says as a single mother who went back to school to get her master’s degree, she recognizes how helpful a scholarship can be.

“Any small gesture helps,” Long said. “When you have books that can cost $500, having a $1,000 purse is an incredible asset.”

Attendee Kari Jones said women on non-traditional career paths are often overlooked for this kind of support and said she was happy to help.

“There just aren’t a lot of opportunities for these women,” Jones said. “There are a lot of scholarships right out of high school, so I think it’s great that WIL has chosen to focus on something that is often an underserved community.”

Long said WIL is an organization that aims to empower women in their daily lives through networking, personal development, mentoring and coaching. She said Saturday’s run not only helped fund scholarships, but also brought people together.

“We need different things to fully fuel us and a race like this is a great opportunity for people to get out and be active and enjoy each other’s company, and that’s also what Women in Leadership,” Long said.

Jones said it was important to come out and show support for other women.

“I like the idea of ​​women supporting women,” Jones said. “I think it’s something that we always have to do, kind of get over these stereotypes of women, maybe sometimes not uplifting each other and doing the opposite. Being here to build ourselves, to help each other in the different stages of our careers, our life paths.

So far, the race has raised over $500 of the $2,000 goal. They always accept donations here.