PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Dozens of runners raced through Peoria’s Laura Bradley Park Saturday morning, May, 14, to raise money that will help give women extra support in achieving a higher education.

Peoria’s Women in Leadership of Central Illinois provides $1,000 scholarships through the Community Foundation of Central Illinois to Tri-County are women in the workforce that are going back to school for business and management.

Yvonne Long, board member and race organizer, said this year they were able to award two women scholarship money. She said the race will help continue their mission.

Long said as a single mother who went back to school to get her master’s degree, she recognizes how helpful a scholarship can be.

“Any little bit helps,” Long said. “When you have books that can be 500 bucks, having a 1,000 dollar scholarship is an incredible asset.”

Participant Kari Jones said women on non-traditional career paths are often overlooked for this kind of support and said she’s excited to help out.

“There’s just not that many opportunities for those women,” Jones said. “There’s a lot of scholarships just out of high school, so I think it’s great that WIL has chosen to take this focus on something that’s often an underserved community.”

Long said WIL is an organization that aims to empower women in their everyday lives through networking, personal development, mentoring, and coaching. She said Saturday’s race not only helped fund the scholarships, but it also brought people together.

“We need different things to feed that whole self and a run like this is great opportunity for people to get out and get active and to enjoy each other’s company, and that’s also what Women in Leadership is about,” Long said.

Jones said it’s important to get out and show support for other women.

“I love the idea of women supporting women,” Jones said. “I think it’s something we always need to be doing, kind of getting over those stereotypes of women maybe sometimes not lifting each other up and do the opposite. Be here building one another up, helping each other along the different stages in our careers, in our life paths.”

So far the race has raised over $500 of the $2,000 goal. They’re still accepting donations here.