Book author, motivational speaker promotes You Matter Movement 5K

Jamicka Edwards, founder of the You Matter Movement 5K, has personally run 16 half marathons over the past two years across the U.S. Photo courtesy of Jamicka Edwards

Jamicka Edwards, author of the inspiring book “You Matter” and also a U.S. Army veteran, who last year organized the inaugural You Matter Movement 5K Race to benefit her local community of Steilacoom, is bringing back the program for a second year, this time adding a half marathon and devoting the proceeds to a You Matter Movement scholarship fund to support local students attending college in the fall.

After taking her book on a tour of the U.S. in 2014 with her message that “you matter,” and after training for and running half marathons, Edwards woke up one morning in April 2017 with the idea to bridge her message of “you matter” with her love for running, and sharing in a common goal with other runners of starting and finishing a race, to start the You Matter Movement 5K.

This year’s race will be from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Sunday, June 3 at Fort Steilacoom Park (8714 87th Ave. SW) in Lakewood. Participants can race in a 5K or half marathon, or if they are out-of-state or hours away, they’re able to register for the virtual 5K or half marathon no later than Friday, May 18 to receive their race bid a week before the event date.

“There were over 200 participants registered last year, and runners from 20 states participated in the virtual 5K,” Edwards said.

Because of significant feedback, Edwards chose this year to add a half marathon, which equates to 13.1 miles. In addition to a race bib, new this year for participants will be a race T-shirt and a customized one-of-a-kind “You Matter” medal.

Last year, Edwards organized within two months. Thanks to registration fees and donations from individuals, she was able to raise $3,000 to support local families and organizations. 

This year it is Edwards’ hope and desire to distribute two scholarships of $500 each to two graduating seniors at Steilacoom High School who come from single-parent households, have been accepted to a college in the fall, and who write a winning essay that explains what the You Matter Movement means to them.

Two remaining $500 scholarships will be distributed to one graduating senior in Pierce County represented by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Rhoers, and one graduating senior in Washington represented by the Washington Alliance of Black School Educators.

The two scholarships distributed to two seniors at Steilacoom High School will help pay for basic living essentials needed while away at college. Student recipients will be able to put the scholarships toward a money order to pay for goods.

“When I worked at Steilacoom High School I learned that students don’t always have the money to pay for extras at college, like toiletries and bedding,” Edwards said.

Edwards said she was raised by a single mother. And today, she also is raising her three sons on her own.

“When I attended college it was a struggle for my mother,” Edwards said. “She was a single mother raising three daughters on her own.”

 The mission of the race is to spread the message that you matter, you are essential, you are important, and you are unique. The event will be family friendly, featuring bounce houses and free activities for children. After completion, participants will receive a complimentary massage offered by MVP Physical Therapy of Lakewood.

For complete race details, visit and e-mail Edwards at with questions about available group discounts.

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