Rivers and Rails Run benefits Arlington youth

ARLINGTON — Fundraisers such as the fifth annual Rivers and Rails Run have been helping the Cocoon House expand their programs.

Originally started 20 years ago to provide short-term, emergency housing to youth, the Cocoon House has been able to broaden its support to children.

“We have a lot of support from folks out there around Snohomish County,” said Jim Thompson, director of development and community relations. “From young girls who have a garage sale to help us to events like these, they are all important for the Cocoon House.”

Now, when the community shelter will be celebrating its 20th birthday, it has expanded from one house in Everett, to four, including the Cocoon House North, which is located on Highland Drive in Arlington.

The Arlington facility, which opened in 2006, has six beds for youth needing a place to stay, and Thompson said that it is full almost every night. It also is part of a program called Hope Beds, which helps find youth safe housing and support from other areas.

The house also helps youth learn life skills that include topics such as understanding credit to nutrition, provides counseling and help with homework.

In total, between the four houses, the Cocoon House can provide 35 children ages 13-21 with beds for at least a night around Snohomish County. But on a $2.6 million budget, the house has developed more plans, including a drop-in center for youth during the day, which averages about 50 walk-ins per day, and programs for both children and parents that will help prevent in-home violence and runaways.

One of the quickest growing programs, however, for the Cocoon House is an anti-gang violence prevention program, which helps fight the more than 100 gangs in Snohomish County.

Rivers and Rails Run typically raises $2,000-$3,000 for the Cocoon House every year. It is one of the Arlington Runners Club’s four charity events for local causes, which also include the Walk & Roll in May, the Run for Hope in September and the Toys for Tots Run in December.

“It’s quite the event in Arlington,” said Thompson of the River and Rails Run. “Because we have shelter there, the community has really been very supportive of us every year and it’s something we look forward to.”

The race is set for Aug.7 at Haller Park in downtown Arlington. Registration begins at 7:45 a.m. and is $20 per person. Kids age 14 and under, along with adults 70 and over are free.

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