When author and motivational speaker Jamicka Edwards launched her one-woman “You Matter” movement several years ago, she traveled locally and nationally to inspire people of all ages to live in their purpose everyday. Her book “You Matter: What would living in your purpose everyday look like?” had been published and she lined up book tours and speaking engagements everywhere she could in order to tell her own story of living life fully and how others can as well.
Now Edwards is taking her uplifting and meaningful mission to new heights by planning the first annual You Matter Movement 5K Walk/Run, which will take place on Sunday, June 4, 9 a.m. to noon at Fort Steilacoom Park. Her aim is to spread the message, “You are essential. You are important. You are unique. And you matter!” This is the bigger picture intended with this event – for all of us to support each other through all of life’s “races.”
“My vision for the event is to have many people continually cheering others on throughout the race at every mile marker, not just with a high five, but giving them something to encourage them to keep going not just in the race, but in life,” Edwards said. “They will feel like they matter, they will feel important, and they will leave that 5K a different person with a new hope and maybe a new spark toward a goal in some area in their life that they didn't have before.”
An avid runner, Edwards just completed her eighth half-marathon last weekend. Since July 2015 she has completed six 5Ks, four 10Ks, four 12Ks, two 15Ks, one 10-mile run, and that, with eight half-marathons, makes for a total of 25 running events with more scheduled throughout 2017.
“I wanted to do something after I published my book, and I knew when the time was right I’d do some type of event,” she said. Praying on it, this single mother of three boys with a full-time job already has her hands full but it came to her to combine her passion for running and raising people up into one signature event that people of all ages and abilities can take part in. She posed the question to her Facebook friends, “If I had a 5K and you had to pay a fee, would you come?” In response, “I got 100 ‘likes’ in one hour and people said ‘count me in,’” Edwards said.
The You Matter 5K is not about hardcore runners, but about all people. “It’s about those who’ve never done a 5K who think they can’t but they don’t realize that they walk three miles every day around their building at work, going to their car, around their neighborhood, going to their kids’ events… I believe that’s what this is about – inspiring them that they can do more than they thought and stretch them further than they thought they could go,” she said.
The race is also set up for “virtual” participation for those locally who can’t be there or for those who live out of state and want to be part of the event. Right now Edwards has registrations from across the country, including Michigan, Missouri, Illinois, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
The $25 registration fee (group discounts available), with kids 0-11 free, includes the bib, a medal, a swag bag, bounce houses for the kids, raffles and prize giveaways – and the opportunity to contribute to three great causes: Village Keepers, a non-profit that provides assistance and opportunities to at-risk and displaced youth and young adults through meal service, educational outings, referral services, and community events (yourvillagekeepers.org), and the Tacoma chapter of the Imagine Me Foundation, which provides assistance and resources – physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial support – to men, women, and children in the community affected by various types of cancer (www.ImagineMeFoundation.org).
The third beneficiary is one special little girl named Savannah Lingenfelter who lives in DuPont, a friend of Edwards for whom she has dedicated the You Matter 5K. Edwards met seven-year-old Savannah two years ago and learned soon after that she survived one cancer diagnosis when she was just three years old and now it has returned. “I would never have guessed that. She is such a sweet little girl – so bubbly and lively,” Edwards said of her young friend.
There will be a 100-yard dash at the You Matter 5K for children ages 10 and under at no charge and it will be dedicated to Savannah. The young participants will be invited to draw pictures and write letters to encourage Savannah (and her family) during this difficult time.
“It’s amazing how when you know it’s in your heart to do something and it’s not about you, it opens the door to so many opportunities,” Edwards said.
Many people have come alongside Edwards to encourage and help her through organizing her very first major event. “I can’t say how grateful I am for them,” she stated, giving a heart-felt thank-you to Lauren Faitala, Stephanie Tisby, June Brown, Tasha Jones, Leslie Pacheco, Jennifer Owens, Rose Coates and Yolanda Perry; some of the major sponsors and contributors to the You Matter Movement including DJ & Judi Brown (owners of Tacoma Trophy), Shaniece Thomas, (co-owner of Team Thomas Marketing out of Saint Peters, Mo.), Shellie Willis (Redefining Your Future), Monique DuBose (CEO of The Resilient You), Donna Black (founder of Commit To You (C.Y.T.) Fitness), Starbucks Coffee (Steilacoom Avenue in Lakewood and both DuPont locations), Chris Muller (1st Command Financial Services, DuPont location), Bounce E House (Tacoma, Puyallup and Lakewood), and the City of Lakewood for the usage of Fort Steilacoom Park.
“As more sponsorship and donations are received leading up to the event, they will be recognized on the You Matter Movement website as well as at the actual event. I am beyond grateful for the support I’ve received thus far,” Edwards said.
For complete details on the You Matter 5K, go to