The Bellevue LifeSpring Youth Council hosted over a hundred community members last month at Marymoor Park for their annual 5K Fun Run to fight hunger. They exceeded their goal and raised more than $25,969 to support local students experiencing food insecurity.
Bellevue community members came together in a fantastic display of unity, with participants spanning all age groups and local businesses lending generous support as sponsors. The Youth Council planned a fun and energetic event with sponsor booths giving away freebies like swag bags, sunblock, and pre-race snacks.
There were also pre-race activities, including a silent auction and a group warm-up before runners and walkers embarked on their three-mile adventure. Following the race, everyone enjoyed ice pops, fruit, snacks, bagels and cream cheese, and a lively celebration.
Special thank you to the Platinum Sponsors, SalesForce, Viome, BECU, and State Farm, and the Gold Sponsors, Fabletics and Starbucks, for their leadership investments in supporting the event. We’d also like to give a shout-out to The City Loo, City Sweats, Coca-Cola, John Reed Fitness, Kids Quest, Kukumber Skin Lounge, One Circle, Panera Bread, Road Runners Sports, Tee Up 24 Golf Club, Trader Joes, TRUCE Spa, TruFusion Bellevue, Viktor Michael, Water Grill Bellevue, and Woods Coffee for their support and participation.
The Bellevue LifeSpring Youth Council is comprised of local high school students who meet on a regular cadence to plan events that raise awareness and funds to help Bellevue students in need. The Youth Council is chaired by Ava Chen, Avanya Kohli, and Cole Sevier.
“Seeing the turnout of everyone coming together and raising money to support Bellevue kids really showed the Youth Council the positive impact we can continue to make together,” shared Youth Council Co-Chair Avanya Kohli.
Avanya and Ava Reflect on the Race
Avanya and Ava, now seniors at Bellevue High School and Newport High School, have both been chairs of the Youth Council since their freshman year. Their favorite part of this year’s 5K was witnessing the Youth Council members, volunteers, participants, and sponsors all coming together to make a difference.
“Our families, friends, and neighbors all donated their money and their Sunday morning to a really good cause. It was impactful to see,” said Ava. “We enjoyed having new Youth Council members join us and participate in organizing this year’s 5K —especially our underclassmen who are gearing up to take on more responsibilities and keep the event going after the three current chairs graduate.”
The Youth Council’s first 5K Fun Run was hosted in August 2019. Avanya’s sister and the original Youth Council members passed the torch on to Avanya when they graduated. After the pandemic in 2022, Avanya and Ava took charge and hosted the second annual 5K, raising $7,000.
“Watching my sister and the other original members start the Youth Council and plan the first 5K inspired me to create a vision about what I wanted the Youth Council to become,” shared Avanya. “My co-chairs and I helped grow the group from just a couple of members to a larger group planning bigger-scale events. It’s been a great experience.”
One of the Youth Council’s earliest endeavors was a series of coin drives that raised funds to support Bellevue LifeSpring’s mission. This initiative not only raised funds but its success also lit a spark of inspiration in the Youth Council members.
The Youth Council went on to host food drives, a summer drive-in movie night, and a Winter Ball fundraiser. Youth Council members have also volunteered their time to support fundraising initiatives of other Bellevue LifeSpring Circles, including One Circle’s One Heart/One Community gala.
We asked what inspires Avanya and Ava to give back locally. They both shared that supporting their peers is important to them. When they learned that thousands of students in Bellevue and hundreds in their own schools were experiencing food insecurity, it inspired them to take action.
What’s Next for the Youth Council?
The Youth Council will pick back up this fall and winter, hosting drives that help support Bellevue LifeSpring’s mission.
Now that Co-Chairs Ava, Avanya, and Cole are in their senior year, it will soon be their turn to pass the torch to new members to take the lead. Until then, they hope to keep fostering the group’s key values of inclusivity, collaboration, and creating a welcoming space where members feel open to sharing ideas.
The Bellevue LifeSpring Youth Council is always recruiting new members. If you know a high school student here in Bellevue who may be interested in joining, email firstname.lastname@example.org for next steps.
“The Youth Council is a great opportunity to meet other students within the Bellevue community!” shared Ava.