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COUNTING on SUPPORT

Akron-based Skoda Minotti professional Matt Soful creates iStrive for Kids, a charitable organization to benefit Boys and Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve

For many, “giving” creates images of gifts, donations and dollars. But for lifelong Akron resident Matt Soful, combining work, family and personal interests has culminated in a very unique philanthropic endeavor.

“I was raised in a charitable household. My parents were always involved in the community, giving their time through volunteerism and showing us ways in which we could help others.”

Soful, a husband, father of four, marathon competitor and triathlete, serves as a Business Development professional for Akron-based CPA, Business & Financial Advisory firm Skoda Minotti.  “I realized a few years ago it was my turn to step up and make a difference in a more meaningful manner.”

It was at that time he became involved with the at-risk youth community and created The Sharing Ground (mattsoful.com/sharingground) as a launch-pad to better prepare at-risk teens and encourage them to begin thinking about planning an educational foundation for a career.

As Soful became more involved, he developed a close relationship with the leadership of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve and began to fully understand the needs of the children and how they rely on the programs the Clubs provide. Working for a business advisory firm, he also knew that fiscal health was vital to the success of the organization. He had an idea to not only raise funds for the Club, but also create a program that would allow others, especially the kids, to participate in the process.

iStrive for Kids is Soful’s fundraising initiative. The program is based on four athletic events he will participate in throughout the year.  No easy task for even the most dedicated runner, however, Soful’s races will be a half-marathon, full marathon, Olympic triathlon and a half Iron Man totaling 142.73 miles.  To help promote Soful’s message of “anything is possible with preparation, discipline and hard work,” children from the Boys & Girls Clubs will be part of each race day and will have the chance to cross the finish line with him. Soful’s first race was two weeks ago, running the half in the Cleveland Marathon.

“The kids are an integral part of this journey from start to finish. In addition to attending the events, they can view my training logs through Map My Run, watch video blogs of my training sessions on Facebook and stay up-to-date on frequent  insights via Twitter (@mattsoful). I will also speak to the kids in person each month about managing multiple priorities; in my case, how to balance work, family life, volunteerism and athletic training.”

Following the Cleveland race, Soful will compete June 9 at the Olympic Triathlon at the West Branch State Park in Ravenna, September 8 at the Half Iron Man in Sandusky, and October 13 at the Towpath Marathon in Akron.

Soful has set a fundraising goal of $50 per mile, which will raise a minimum of $7,200 for the Clubs and help fund “Diplomas to Degrees,” a comprehensive program for children ages 13-18 that provides structured activities to guide the planning and preparation for college or higher education.

To donate and help Soful reach his goal, visit https://fundly.com/201, call 330-618-6951 or email msoful@thesharingground.org.

To learn more about the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Western Reserve, visit www.wrkids.org.

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