Take a stroll or drive around Bristol Motor Speedway this weekend to benefit local charities

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BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — This Saturday, you have a chance to “race” to the aid of one of the region’s premier children’s charities.

“Race for the Children” will be held Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bristol Motor Speedway to benefit Speedway Children’s Charities.

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The public will be allowed inside to walk the track and enjoy family-friendly relays, games and food.

Money raised at this and other Speedway Children’s Charities fundraising events this year will be spread among dozens of non-profit organizations that serve children in 18 counties across Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.

One of the agencies that has greatly benefitted from Speedway Children’s Charities grants in previous years is “Rise Up” in Johnson City.

“Some years, their (SCC) giving is the difference between having enough and not having enough,” said Michael Marion, Rise Up founder and executive director.

Marion – known as “Coach” to everyone at the Johnson City after-school ministry – formed the non-profit ministry after volunteering to coach a boys basketball team. “Most of them were fatherless boys,” Marion said. “And they just started doing better in school both behavior-wise and academic-wise.”

A school counselor asked him to keep investing in kids. Almost 30 years later, Rise Up is an after-school retreat for boys and girls where they get help with homework, a nutritious meal and unconditional love.

Marion said Rise Up has two main missions. One is to help children build successful relationships. “If you come from a family where you are not relationally healthy, that just carries on forever,” Marion said.

Marion said the second mission is the prepare children for the future. “We focus on skills such as showing up on time, conversation skills, staying late and asking, ‘how can I help?'” Marion said. “These are the things that we teach kids to help them be prepared for the future.”

With help from Speedway Children’s Charities, Rise Up is raising up the next generation.

“We do a lot for a few as opposed to doing a little for a lot – because we want to go the long haul,” Marion said.

You can help Speedway Children’s Charities this Saturday by attending the “Race for the Children.”

The event starts at 8 a.m. and continues through 1 p.m. at the world-famous track in Bristol.

The morning starts with a special “track walk.” Kids can enjoy tailgate games, family relay races using Food City shopping carts and plenty of food. Registration isn’t required, but donations to SCC are encouraged.

The highlight of the event will be a two-hour session of Track Laps presented by Drake’s. People will be able to drive their personal vehicles on the famed high-banked all-concrete oval for a $50 donation for 10 laps.

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