By Amanda Amsel
In an effort to deal with her own grief and turn a horrible situation into something good, a local mother has created an organization aimed at getting kids off the streets.
Rachel Muha started Run the Race Club in 2005 and has transformed the small club into a program that has changed countless lives for Westside residents.
“The club started out at a church in Franklinton with one little girl,” Muha said. “She told her friends about the club and today it has turned into so much more.”
Offering Westside children ages 5 to 18 years old tutoring, games, meals, snacks, clothes, field trips and even food to take home, the club offers kids a safe haven after school.
Located at 880 South Wayne Ave. on the corner of Wayne and Eakin, the club gives area children a safe place to go after school until their parents get home from work.
Muha said she was inspired to start the after-school program after her 18-year-old son, Brian was killed during an armed robbery at his off-campus house in Steubenville, Ohio. Brian was a sophomore at Franciscan University when two teenagers that were high on crack cocaine randomly broke into his home, assaulted him and his friend and murdered them.
“Brian wanted to be an inner city children’s doctor and wanted to make a difference in this world,” Muha said. “I wanted to do something to make Brian’s dream of helping inner city kids come true.”
Instead of letting this tragedy ruin her life, Muha decided to do everything in her power to help at risk children so that no other parents have to go through what she has been through.
“I also didn’t want Brian’s beautiful life to be associated with something so awful,” she said. “I wanted to do something in his memory and he loved children, so this club made sense to me.”
According to Muha, the free club has attracted children from all over the Westside, some walking to the center and some taking the bus. Today, approximately 400 children are on the club’s roster.
Run completely on donations and staffed by almost all volunteers, some of the other things the club does for area children and their families includes donating appliances, offering free legal advice, offering preschool for children 3-4 years old, providing Christmas gifts for the children, sponsoring basketball teams and even helping select kids decorate their bedrooms by supplying new bedspreads, art and other decorations.
“The kids that come here, their parents can’t afford after-school care or are struggling with their own issues,” Muha said. “This place provides a safe environment for them to learn and grow and keeps them off of the streets.”
The club is open from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday during the school year and 12 to 4 p.m. or 1 to 5 p.m. once a week during the summer.
If you are interested in volunteering, donating or sending your child to the Run the Race Club, contact Rachel Muha at 276-2171.