WATCH Out! 5K to raise funds for tenant advocacy clinic

A $10 registration fee goes toward emergency assistance for families

Join Brandeis for the first annual WATCH Out! 5K Fundraising Run and Walk to raise donations for the Waltham Alliance To Create Housing Advocacy Clinic and help improve the lives of Waltham residents.  

The 5k run will take place from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, on the Loop Road; there will be food and activities on the Great Lawn from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. The run is $10 to register, which includes a free T-shirt and snacks.

Tickets are available for purchase at the Shapiro Campus Center the box office and online, or call 781-736-3400.

WATCH Housing Advocacy Clinic is a community development corporation that organizes tenant advocacy to help the residents of Waltham find affordable housing and learn their rights as tenants.

Alwina Bennett, assistant provost for graduate student affairs, is on the board of directors, Anne Schweitzer '10 is the community organizer, and Brandeis students Tyler Belanga '12 and Stephanie Johnson '13 are the event organizers and current WATCH interns.

American Studies Professor Laura Goldin asked Belanga and Johnson to intern at the WATCH this semester.

Johnson and Belanga saw that funding was being depleted, and wanted to institute a fundraiser to remedy the situation. They believed a run to be the healthiest and most inspiring option, and "we made it a reality," says Johnson. They hope that the 5K will become an annual event that everyone looks forward to.

Johnson describes the specific purpose of the $10 fee:

"At the clinic, we regularly see clients, including families with babies and young children, in need of emergency funds to avoid homelessness and literally keep them off the streets," she says. "WATCH developed an Emergency Funds Assistance Program to provide small grants for emergency assistance to those in desperate need. The residents of Waltham have faced great hardships, and their stories are heartbreaking. We want to provide this assistance to them because we want our community to know that we are an organization that is there for them when they have nowhere else to turn."

Johnson says she is "interested in educating and advocating for individuals who are unaware of their rights. This includes advocating for tenants, low-income families, and at-risk youth. There are people who need a helping hand, and I strive to be that person who is always willing to lend one."

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