In 2020, COVID-19 forced Open Sky Community Services’ signature fundraising event, the Valley Friendship Tour, to go virtual.
Although last year’s tour proved to be successful, raising close to $150,000, Open Sky recently announced that the 36th Valley Friendship Tour is being planned as an in-person event. Scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m., the tour will return to the Alternatives Whitin Mill, 50 Douglas Road in Whitinsville. In light of the current rising rates of COVID-19 driven by the Delta variant, plans are being made to help ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
The Valley Friendship Tour is an opportunity to gather friends, family and co-workers for a day of fun and exercise in the beautiful and historic Blackstone Valley. Participants of all ages and abilities can travel along one of three noncompetitive routes: a one-mile walk titled the “Golden Mile;" a 5K walk/run;or a 30-mile bicycle ride. After completing their route, participants enjoy a complimentary lunch on the Dennis H. Rice Community Plaza at the Whitin Mill, kid-friendly activities, raffles and live music.
Since it began more than three decades ago, the tour has raised over $3 million in support of individuals and families in central Massachusetts.
For 33 years, the Valley Friendship Tour was the signature fundraising event for Alternatives Unlimited. In 2018, Alternatives affiliated with The Bridge of Central Massachusetts, another well respected nonprofit with a long history in Central Massachusetts, to form Open Sky Community Services.
Open Sky has more than 100 programs through the region and serves more than 4,900 individuals each year. The organization provides services and programs for youth, adults and families experiencing mental health challenges, intellectual/developmental disabilities, autism, brain injury, substance use disorders, homelessness or other complex challenges.
Both teams and individuals are welcome to register; preregistration is $30 while registration the day of is $35. For more information, or to register online, visit openskycs.org/vft2021.