Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


5K Benefits Developmentally Disabled Adults

Published May 9, 2013

LILBURN— For the third year in a row, St. John Neumann Church, Lilburn, is joining forces with St. Mary’s Independent Living Extensions (SMILE) for a 5K and one-mile fun run. This year’s event is set for Saturday, May 11, at Lilburn City Park.

Organizers and entertainers are donating their time and services, so 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit SMILE—a private, Catholic, state-licensed nonprofit agency in Lilburn that provides supported living services for the community’s developmentally disabled adults.

According to W. Leo Payne, race committee chairman, race organizers are excited about this year’s new venue.

“The first two races were on the streets around the church. Now that we have the park, we anticipate more participation, especially for those who have mobility issues,” said Payne, who added that the event drew just over 200 participants for the first two years.

He said, “The city streets were somewhat hilly and difficult for some people, but the park provides a flatter and faster course. Using the park also allows us to start both the 5K and the one-mile fun run/walk almost simultaneously (the fun run/walk at 8 a.m. and the 5K at 8:30 a.m.). We’ll use the greenway for the 5K and the oval by the park’s grandstands for the fun run/walk.”

Payne also said that the flat, oval track being used for the fun run/walk is accessible for those with walkers, wheelchairs and parents with strollers. In addition, a local band “Good Sam” will provide music, and an area fitness club will provide a warm-up class prior to the start of the events.

St. John Neumann parishioners launched the fund-raising event three years ago with the encouragement of their former pastor, Bishop David P. Talley, who is a member of SMILE’s board.

“Many people don’t realize how hard it is for people with developmental disabilities to get the help they need once they reach adulthood,” Payne said.

SMILE works with developmentally disabled adults, age 21 and older, as well as their family members and care providers, to ensure all of their needs are met. The agency provides services within its clients’ homes. The organization assists clients with everything from finding roommates, to learning social and work skills, to accessing transportation and community services, to a day program. This program provides interactive classes on subjects such as safety and money management, as well as group volunteering opportunities. Although a Catholic agency, its services are available to all those in need.

Registration for the event can be accessed online at or at the church website, Registration forms can also be picked up at the church, located at 801 Tom Smith Road, Lilburn.  The cost is $20 for 5K runners and walkers and $15 for fun run walkers/runners with an additional $5 per entry after May 8. Registration for a family of four or more is also available for $50 by May 8.


For information about the race, call (770) 923-6633. For information about SMILE, call (770) 279-5115.