Chiaravalle, Columbia community participate in charity run

By Lindsey Woods

Most Chicago city-dwellers have conditioned themselves to walk past those with cardboard signs and outstretched hands, but on July 15 Columbia’s associate vice president and chief of staff Paul Chiaravalle, along with other Columbia students, faculty and staff, will “Run! To End Homelessness.”

The 5K, which will take place in Douglas Park, 1225 S. California Ave., will help raise money for A Safe Haven, an organization that aims to empower homeless individuals so they can be self-sufficient.

“This organization helps homeless people get off the street and back into society,” Chiaravalle said. “It’s not just, ‘Here’s a meal and an overnight shelter, see you later.’ It’s a wonderful organization, and, in a small way, this is just something I thought I could do and maybe bring in some folks who might agree with me.”

Chiaravalle also said he feels a personal connection to the charity because he is a former Army officer, and he wants to help homeless veterans.

“Some of these folks that they help are veterans, and my heart goes out to them,” Chiaravalle said. “Anything we can do to help them is good.”

The second-annual run is expecting a bigger turnout than the 138 runners they had last year, according to A Safe Haven co-founder Neli Vazquez-Rowland. Chiaravalle hopes that he can recruit Columbia administrators, faculty, staff and students to help meet that expectation.

The run will start at 8 a.m. and be followed by a live aid concert, which will feature three artists and a disc jockey, according to Vazquez-Rowland. She also noted that everyone, not just runners, are welcome to participate.

“Walkers are encouraged, too,” Vazquez-Rowland said. “We don’t want to leave anyone out.”