Three Oakland County groups to share more than $4,800 as Brooksie Way Minigrants top $171,000

A soccer program for children with autism and their siblings and an initiative to provide bike helmets to second graders in Waterford and Pontiac were among three programs which will share more than $4,800 in Brooksie Way Minigrants.

Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced the winners during a Brooksie Way event at Crittenton Hospital in Rochester.

“The Brooksie Way, through its minigrant program, has impacted so many lives in our community and continues to make a difference,” Patterson said. “I’m grateful to our generous sponsors and the thousands of runners and walkers who participate in The Brooksie Way races each year who are truly the ones who make this program possible.”

The Brooksie Way awards minigrants of up to $2,000 to not-for-profit organizations and community groups three times a year. It has helped support approximately 130 projects that promote healthy and active lifestyles and fitness programming in the county. Since it began in 2010, more than $171,000 in Brooksie Way minigrants has been distributed.

Organizations that will share $4,848 in minigrant funding are:

• Donelson Hills Elementary School in Waterford will use the funds to erect a Gaga Ball pit for the school playground. The game is played in an octagon enclosure and is similar to dodge ball.
• McLaren Oakland Foundation in Pontiac will use the grant to expand its Safe Wheels and Heels Program, which will furnish properly fitting bike helmets to second graders in Pontiac and Waterford.
• OUCARES – Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach Services will offer a recreational soccer program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, their siblings and friends.

Patterson started the minigrant program as a way to put proceeds from the Brooksie Way Half Marathon back into the community. The Brooksie Way races, which include 10k, 5k and several children’s events, were named in honor of Brooks Stuart Patterson, a young married father and the son of the county executive, who died after a snowmobiling accident in 2007.

The Brooksie Way has become one of the most popular regional fall half marathons. It spawned a 5k winter race, The Brooksie Way Chill at the Mills, as part of the increasingly popular Fire &Ice Festival. The festival takes place Jan. 20-22, 2017 and the Chill at the Mills is set for Jan. 22. The race drew 300 participants its first year, 600 in the second and 800 in 2016. Registrations for the 2017 race are expected to top last year’s numbers, race director Deb Flynn
said.

Participants can register for the Chill at the Mills at www.TheBrooksieWay.com. Those who register before Jan. 6, 2017 can save $10 from the race day fee of $37. All participants receive a long-sleeve Chill at the Mills t-shirt and race finishers receive touch screen gloves. Advance packet pickup will be available at Runnin’ Gear stores.

The Chill at the Mills is sponsored by Shelton Buick-GMC in Rochester Hills.