Giving Back

Greta’s Run in Westfield Sept. 13 will Benefit Young Adults with Special Needs

Participants of all ages and abilities took part in the 2014 Greta's Run. Credits: Jackie Lieberman

WESTFIELD, NJ — Registration is open for the third annual Greta’s Run on Sunday, Sept. 13. More than 1,000 people ran, walked or rolled in the 5K fundraiser for special needs programs at the Westfield Area Y last year. Register to participate, volunteer, sponsor or donate by clicking here.

Among those already registered for 2015 are athletes from The Challenged Athletes Foundation, who use hand cycles to race. 

Greta’s Run is named for Greta Schoenemann, who died in 2002 while she was a freshman at Westfield High School.

Sign Up for E-News

“This is a testament to the way Greta lived her life, and the people she affected along the way,” said Ben Nanna, co-founder of Greta’s Run and assistant director of special programs and events at the Y. “There is something magic about Greta’s Run, and I hope people keep showing up in droves for years to come. I’ll be 90 years old standing on the Greta’s Run stage throwing confetti.”

Money raised will be used to fund the Y’s Dragonfly Program, which offers fitness, recreation and social opportunities for young adults with special needs. A recreational therapist recently joined Y’s the staff to further expand the program and better give participants what they need to thrive, according Nanna.

A committee of three young adults with special needs advises the program.

“I’m not in a wheelchair, nor do I have cerebral palsy or autism, but the committee members do. They tell me what works for them, what they want to do and how they want to be engaged by marketing and program staff,” Nanna said. “I see this as the most imperative function of the Dragonfly Program right now.”

Greta's Run is much more than the 5K alone, Nanna explained. As with the past Greta’s Runs, exactly who will sing the National Anthem will be a surprise, he said. Last year, the Newark Tabernacle Choir delighted participants and spectators.

Jersey Mike’s, The Juice House, Trader Joe’s and Kings Supermarkets will provide food and refreshments at the finish line. Afterward, the Official Greta’s Run After Party will be held at The Office Beer Bar & Grill, with proceeds to benefit Greta’s Run.

“[Co-founder] Jayne [Routolo] and I, our friends and family fly in from all over the world to come to Greta’s Run. Now I hear from participants that their family and friends are doing the same. I always look forward to seeing people who didn't even know Greta show up enthusiastic to participate in the day,” Nanna said. “I love seeing kids I’ve coached on swim team become ‘young philanthropists,’ helping me fundraise, volunteer for the programs and alleviate stigmas associated with people who have special needs. Greta’s Run has become one of the biggest honors to helm. Our community loves it, and our community receives the benefit."

In addition to race-day festivities, Lord & Taylor in Westfield will host Shop for a Cause & Fashion Show for the Lady Blue Devils Soccer Team from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on  Saturday, Sept. 12, with five percent of all sales benefiting Greta’s Run. The event includes live music, a pasta dinner by Casa di Pizza and refreshments.

TAP into Westfied, TAP into Cranford and TAP into Mountainside are proud sponsors of Greta's Run.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events

Sat, February 24

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Sat, February 24, 9:00 AM

The Reeve History and Cultural Resource Center, Westfield

Wesfield Historical Society Offers Cursive ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Giving Back


Sat, February 24, 1:00 PM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Free Kids Expo and Water Safety Event

Arts & Entertainment Health & Wellness

Sat, February 24, 3:00 PM

White Tiger Dojo, Berkeley Heights

White Tiger Dojo Hosts Trauma Response Seminar: ...

Health & Wellness

Sun, February 25

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green


Sun, February 25, 10:00 AM

Camp Riverbend, Warren

Camp Riverbend "Wacky Winter Olympics" Open House

Arts & Entertainment Other

Springfield's Cannon Hall House is Open to Public Sunday, Letter from George Washington and Herbert Hoover will be on Display

February 18, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ – Hit by a cannon ball, it survived the Revolutionary War.  Sunday, there is the Springfield Historical Society Open House at the Cannon Ball House. It will be open to the public from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  

In honor of it being Presidents’ Day weekend, two samples of presidential penmanship will be displayed. One is a letter that George ...

‘Reefer Madness’ Comes to Chatham Borough Council; Cannabis Advocates Make Pitch for Chatham Marijuana Shop

February 14, 2018

CHATHAM, NJ - A group of pro-cannabis activists came to the Borough of Chatham Council meeting on Monday night and used the public commentary portion of the meeting to ask the council to support a marijuana dispensary in town.

The advocates, who say they have attended more than 80 town meetings to inform about the benefits of medical cannabis, mentioned the 1936 movie "Reefer ...

Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains Prepares Gift Bags for Purim

February 23, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Volunteers from the Sisterhood of Congregation Beth Israel in Scotch Plains prepared gift bags with masks, noisemakers, treats and traditional hamentashen cookies on Wednesday, Feb. 21. The gift bags will be delivered to the entire congregation before the Jewish holiday of Purim. 

Sixth and seventh-grade students in Congregation Beth Israel’s Religious ...

Local Advisor Celebrates the 20th Anniversary of the Roth IRA

February 23, 2018

BASKING RIDGE, NJ - 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Roth IRA. First made available to American investors in 1998, a Roth IRA is an individual retirement account that is funded with after-tax dollars and provides tax-free growth and income for retirement.

In honor of this significant milestone, Walter Pardo, CEO/Certified Wealth Strategist at Wealth ...

I've Always Wanted to be a Doctor...Or an English Teacher

Think about the impossibility of the task we lay in front of high school students.  In addition to getting good grades, filling up a resume, finding the right colleges and writing countless admissions essays they also need to decide on their life’s passion at 17 years old...or do they?

As a college admissions representative the first question most students would ask me was whether ...

Colleen Mahr Has Paid Her Dues, Earned Peoples’ Trust, and Left a Track Record of Success

February 20, 2018

Dear Editor:

As a 26-year-old Scotch Plains resident who cares more about the well-being of our town than about local politics, I am extremely disappointed that the Scotch Plains Democratic Committee leadership has decided to abandon Colleen Mahr in her run for Chair of the Union County Democratic Committee.

Mahr, who as Mayor of Fanwood for 15 years has worked closely with Scotch Plains ...