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Registration is open for the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby

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Registration is open for the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby

The 8th Annual Madison Ave Soapbox Derby in Decatur, Ga. on October 6, 2018. Photo by Tami Chappell

Decatur, GA — Registration is now open for the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby, a community fundraising event that started a decade ago. Race day is slated for Saturday, Oct. 16, and the city of Decatur has reviewed and approved the event permit.

The Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby is a non-motorized racing event that challenges amateur racers to design and build human-powered soapbox cars that compete against the clock in a downhill race. Competitors are divided into age groups with awards for fastest time and most creative car themes, according to a press release.

Individuals interested in participating can register through the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby’s website. The registration fee is $50 per driver and that includes an official t-shirt this year. The derby doesn’t have a registration limit but typically will close registration at 100 drivers, if needed.

The soapbox derby began in 2011 as a community project organized by neighbors and the event has helped many area nonprofits serving the needs of children. Through local business sponsorships, participation by racers and community giving, the event has raised more than $200,000 in its first nine years, the press release states.

Past beneficiaries have included Gigi’s Playhouse, Our House, Boys and Girls Club of Decatur, FOCUS, Decatur Cooperative Ministry, Reading is Essential for All People, Decatur Robotics, Decatur Education Foundation and Special Education Parent Teacher Association, Global Village Project.

The Madison Ave Soapbox Derby organizers announced that the Decatur Student Center will be the 2021 beneficiary. The Decatur Student Center is committed to provide meaningful support that allows all students to flourish in school and in life.

The Decatur Student Center provides services beyond the scope of the school counseling program. The DSC began at the high school but has become a K-12 initiative to address the needs of students, according to a press release.

City Schools of Decatur staff and members of the Decatur Education Foundation cut the ribbon for the Decatur Student Center on May 5. The foundation established Joe’s Fund, a behavioral health fund that was created to honor the life of Joe Bodine, a 2015 graduate of Decatur High School who lost his battle with addiction in May 2016.

Students can receive individual and small group counseling for social-emotional concerns, as well as support for academics and post-secondary planning. Programming needs are determined through surveys, data review, and student voice. The DSC provides services through CSD therapists and contracts with therapists and organizations, and through collaborative programs with Georgia State University’s Community Mental Health Program.

The Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby has been a fixture on the Decatur community calendar in early-October for ten years. The event features creatively-themed race cars, food vendors and entertainment. It has grown from 20 competitors in 2011 to nearly 100 competitors in 2019 with about 1,000 spectators lining Madison Avenue cheering on participants and dozens of volunteers working behind the scenes.

According to the leadership team at the Madison Avenue Community Fund, the nonprofit entity that organizes the event and administers charitable giving, the group is looking to refresh its strategies around fundraising and community event programming moving forward.

“We are truly humbled by and grateful for all the community support that the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby has created over this ten-year run” said Marco DiCarlo, MACF chair, in a press release. “So many local businesses and individuals have stepped up to make a difference for area nonprofits supporting young people. While this event is ending, the mission we created to help grow the impact of local children’s charities will remain relevant, and will continue in exciting new ways.”

This family-friendly event is free for spectators and open to the public. More information will be released in September about food vendors, entertainment, health protocols and programming for race day. Follow the Madison Avenue Soapbox Derby on Facebook and Twitter.

For details on making a donation, signing on as an event sponsor, competing in the derby, or volunteering, visit madisonavesoapboxderby.org.

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