Volunteers Prep More Than 30,000 Rubber Ducks for Manatee County Charity Derby

rubber ducks

Community Spirit Shines at the Lucky Ducky Race for Pace

In a heartwarming display of community spirit, over 100 volunteers gathered at Firkins, an auto dealership in Bradenton, to prepare for the annual Lucky Ducky Race for Pace. This major fundraiser supports the Pace Center for Girls, which offers essential life, health, and academic support to middle and high school girls. Among the volunteers was Callaway Johnson, a rising senior at Manatee High School, who, along with her service group Mam’Selles, helped place numbered stickers on more than 30,000 yellow rubber ducks.

A Growing Tradition

Since its inception in 2009, organized by Heather Shrum, the event has grown significantly. “The first year, we raised 5,000 ducks — we didn’t even sell them all. And this year, we are up to 32,000, and we are gonna sell out just like we did last year at 30,000,” Shrum shared. The 2023 event raised an impressive $180,000, all of which directly benefits the girls in the Pace program.

Callaway Johnson and Mam’Selles: Dedication in Action

Callaway Johnson’s involvement highlights the power of youth dedication. She rallied her service group, Mam’Selles, to volunteer, saying, “Bringing in my closest friends who share the same passion that I do. It’s really a special moment we can bond over.” Johnson’s commitment underscores the importance of supporting the girls at Pace, many of whom face significant challenges such as family trauma, abuse, and addiction.

The Volunteer Experience

Volunteers meticulously prepared 30,000 rubber ducks, each with a unique number, for the race down the Manatee River. This hands-on task is crucial for the event’s success and serves as a bonding experience for those involved.

The Impact on the Girls of Pace Center

The Lucky Ducky Race for Pace provides critical funding for the Pace Center, which helps girls overcome personal challenges through counseling, academic assistance, and life skills training. The holistic support from Pace ensures each girl can build a brighter future.

Community Support and Future Goals

Local businesses like Firkins auto dealership and enthusiastic volunteers highlight the community’s collective commitment to the cause. Looking ahead, organizers aim to continue expanding the event, raising more funds and awareness each year.

The preparation of over 30,000 rubber ducks for the Lucky Ducky Race for Pace showcases community spirit and dedication. Volunteers like Callaway Johnson and Mam’Selles exemplify the power of collective action in supporting vital causes. The funds raised make a tangible difference in the lives of the girls at the Pace Center, providing them with the support they need to overcome significant challenges and build brighter futures.


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Written by christianperley

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