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Former Youth Impact student organizes fundraiser to give back

By Karen Painter - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 20, 2022
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Ogden Midnight Runners, a car and community service crew started by Ethan Gerena (center in white shirt) is pictured in December 2020.
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Ethan Gerena's 2014 Ford Mustang.
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The 1st Annual Youth Impact Car Show will be held Saturday, May 21, 2022, to raise money for Youth Impact in Ogden.

Ogden Midnight Runners and Boman Kemp are hosting the 1st Annual Youth Impact Car Show on Saturday, hoping to raise $10,000 for local nonprofit Youth Impact to help with increasing transportation costs.

Youth Impact is an after-school program like the Boys & Girls Clubs but a little more in-depth, says Brenda Gerena, a current board member.

“We pick up kids from Ogden City schools and bring them to our facility where we provide tutoring services and recreational opportunities like music, sports, and arts and crafts. We monitor grades and attendance. Kids receive snacks and dinner. They help clean up and then receive a ride home at the end of the night,” Gerena said.

The car show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ogden Gateway Center (4248 S. 1650 West). Admission is free. Attendees can expect to see over a hundred different types of cars from classic cars, trucks, SUVs and motorcycles to sports cars. There will also be vendors, food trucks, live bands, bouncy houses and a virtual-reality drag racing game.

“It should be a fun event for everyone,” said Ethan Gerena, founder of Ogden Midnight Runners car crew.

He attended Youth Impact as a child from the time he was in fourth grade to his graduation in 2020. “We are hoping to raise $10,000 to help with increasing transportation costs,” he said. “Youth Impact relies heavily on its vans to transport children from school to the program, and then home. They are currently down one van and with the rising costs of gas prices, it is becoming harder and harder to provide these services.”

According to their website, Youth Impact’s purpose has been to respect, protect, serve and instill hope in the children of Ogden, and through them, the community. The hope is to “give every child who comes through our doors a safe place to learn, socialize and realize who they are and who they can become.”

Brenda Gerena says she wishes people were more aware of the program. “It makes such a difference in their lives that without it these kids would be lost,” she said.

They serve an average of 200 students from 20-25 different schools and provide 27 different types of programs including STEM, a garden area, recreational sports and study hall.

When Ethan Gerena was a student at Youth Impact, he enjoyed their fishing and basketball programs. He also took advantage of the volunteers (typically from Weber State) who helped with study hall. “If I needed help with homework or studying for a test, they helped me gain my footing,” he said.

After he graduated, Ethan wanted to put the values he learned at Youth Impact into practice and he and his friend Luis Chivichon started Ogden Midnight Runners in December 2020, a car crew that provides community service.

“I wanted to start a community project that could coincide with what I enjoy,” he said. “I started working on cars, being around cars, and working on sports cars. Luis has helped me manage things and keep my sanity. We began with simple things such as cleaning up the neighborhood and doing different fundraisers. It was a slow start-up but now we’ve got our footing and we are doing the car show I’ve been wanting to do for a while.”

Look for Ethan and his current ride, a 2014 Ford Mustang, at the car show on Saturday.

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