National Honors Society 5K run rallies up funds for local Utah-based nonprofits￼
Park City’s Padma Organization plans summer service trips
Park City High School National Honors Society Memorial 5K
- When: 8 a.m., Saturday, May 27
- Where: Dozier Field at Park City High School, 1750 Kearns Blvd.
- Registration: givebutter.com/parkcity5k
The Park City High School National Honors Society Memorial 5K returns May 27 at Dozier Field.
The run, organized by the Park City High School National Honor Society, pays tribute to the Park City 5 — Erica Knell, Chris Yeates, Matt Knoop, Connie Blount and Mike Pennels, who all died between February and September 2008 — and local fallen veterans, and also serves as a fundraiser for four nonprofit organizations.
Those nonprofits are:
- Labs For Liberty, a nonprofit in Morgan that pairs veterans or families of fallen veterans with service animals to help them heal. The National Honors Society partners with Labs For Liberty to sponsor as many service animals as possible and match them to Park City military families.
- Homeless Youth Center of Salt Lake, a nonprofit shelter dedicated to providing housing and resources to Utah’s homeless youth, charting them on a path to a better future in a supportive social and educational community
- Padma Organization, a Park City-based nonprofit that embarks on service trips for humanitarian projects throughout the world.
- National Honors Society Community Scholarships, which are given to graduating seniors who have dealt with and have overcome hardships in life.
Registration is open for the run at givebutter.com/parkcity5k.
Luke Hanley, Padma Organization executive director, is looking forward to the run.
“Padma trip leaders and students will be at Dozier Field for the run to meet people and introduce them to what we do,” he said. “We will also have silent auction themed baskets, artwork from Chris Bentchetler, and opportunity drawings.”
Bentchetler, a professional freestyle ski legend, donated $1,150 in art, Hanley said.
“I had never met Chris, but I saw he is also an artist and sent him an email,” he said. “And he, without hesitation, got back to me.”
Basket packages include nights on the town and day trips, Hanley said.
“The opportunity drawings include bigger prizes, like trips to Telluride and Moab, and a bunch of other items like a new iWatch and Hale Center Theatre tickets,” he said.
All proceeds raised during the run, auction and drawings will go to the project costs of Padma’s service trips, according to Hanley.
Opportunity drawing tickets can be purchased here: bit.ly/3W3Updw
“The goal to raise is $30,000, and that money will go to project costs and pay some local scientists and professionals for their time,” he said. “Students who are going on the trips are responsible for their own costs that include airline tickets, accommodations and food.”
Nearly 40 Park City High School students will join the Padma Organization’s service excursions this summer, Hanley said.
“We have four trips this summer and two trips — one a service trip and another an adventure and education trip — in 2024,” he said. “The students are of the ages between 15 to 18, and we have three students who have gone on Padma trips before and are now in college. They are coming as assistant trip leaders.”
This year’s projects include a community-construction project and marine conservation in Ecuador and Galapagos from June 4-12; coral reef restoration and manta ray research in Bali that runs from June 14-27 and a sustainable-development, well-conservation and whale conservation trip to the Azore Islands from June 16-29, Hanley said.
“We have 70 students from Park City going on trips this summer, and other Utah students who are going on these trips are from East, Rowland Hall, Judge and Olympus high schools,” he said. “We also have students from East Coast schools who are signed up for the 2024 trips. We are hoping to get 200 students total for 2024.”
Hanley, a Park City High School graduate, and a group of friends formed the Padma Organization in 2006.
“I had lived in Nepal for about a year, and the county was in the midst of a civil war with a lot of civil unrest,” Hanley said. “Padma was started to help kids and families displaced by the civil war.”
George Murphy, a Spanish teacher at Park City High, who has planned and led trips for students around the globe since 1998, heard about Padma in 2015 through Hanley’s brother, Jake, the head professional golf director at Jeremy Ranch Golf and Country Club.
“He asked if I could put together a service trip to Nepal,” Hanley said. “I told him no way at first, but put together the trip in 2016.”
Since then, Padma expanded its reach, and started hosting international service trips to Bali, Nicaragua, Columbia and Ecuador, according to Hanley.
“We still have a handful of projects in Nepal, but we also organize humanitarian and environmental projects around the world,” he said. “We also do fundraising for partner organizations who are doing really cool work.”
While Hanley enjoys working with people and organizations on local projects, one of the biggest rewards of directing the Padma Organization is seeing how these trips impact the students, Hanley said.
“While every trip is focused on making sure the projects we’re working on are selected by the local community, what I’ve seen on the trips is how transformative they are for the students,” he said.
Padma has shifted its strategic plan over the past two years to ensure the students get the most out of the trips as possible, Hanley said.
“One of our board members is a professor at Cornell University who has taught leadership and team-building,” he said. “We did a workshop with him this past winter to design a personal-development program to catalyze growth, introspection and effective leadership skills training for the students to implement on all the trips.”
Park City Institute’s 2023-24 Main Stage season includes Grammy winners, historians, dance and a puppy show.
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