FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) –Students and faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary used the school’s 27th annual Seminary Stride to minister to a faculty member as well as children from an area after school program, April 25.

More than 150 participants from both the campus and the wider community gathered at Southwestern’s Recreation and Aerobics Center (RAC) during the Seminary Stride, a 5K run that weaves around the seminary’s campus.

This year, the event was expanded to include an ALS Walk in honor of Robert Mathis, professor of administration in the School of Educational Ministries. Better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) affects nearly 30,000 Americans, and approximately 5,600 people are diagnosed with it every year.

Over the past two years, students, staff members and faculty members from Southwestern have participated in an ALS Walk in Dallas in honor of Mathis. This year, organizers of the Southwestern group decided to organize a walk at the seminary in order to allow more people to participate. This year, the group raised more than $1,000 for the ALS foundation.

“And yet, the amount of participants and money contributed can never demonstrate in full the amount of love and support the seminary family has for Dr. Mathis,” Anthony Moore, director of the RAC, said. “He is truly a testimony of the impact someone can have when they hope in Christ beyond present circumstances. In typical Dr. Mathis fashion, he accompanied the walkers the entire way around the course. What a delight! We love him dearly and were tremendously blessed to have him and his family join us for the festivities.”

Southwestern students also reached out to junior high students from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. Chris Miller, a master’s student in the seminary’s School of Educational Ministries, invited nine of his pupils from the 21st Century After School Program to join in the run.

“This gives them the opportunity to not only set but accomplish a small goal, and when its visual and when you can touch it, it makes the other goals (in life)… a whole lot easier,” Miller said. He added that the RAC gave the kids free admission, and many other people have offered to help these kids in different ways: “We’ve had amazing people donate money to get them brand new shoes, to get them clothes, a hotel stay—those are some things that some of these kids will never experience.” Miller also mentioned that he hopes his students will “get addicted to running. It’s a healthy hobby that comes with some benefits.”

During an awards ceremony after the race, Wes Mills, assistant director of student life at the RAC, presented the Gospel message to these youth and to other Stride participants from the seminary and the neighboring community.