FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The annual Fort4Fitness Fall Festival weekend is nearing, meaning thousands of people are training hard for the city’s premier fitness event. That includes a group from CASS Housing, an organization that provides safe and affordable housing for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

CASS Housing Walking Club

CASS Housing’s Walking Club will participate in the 4-mile run/walk Oct. 1 in downtown Fort Wayne. Executive Director Becca Graf says the group is using the race as a way to measure their goals and be a part of the greater Fort Wayne community.

“They should be part of all the community activities that Fort Wayne has to offer and Fort 4 Fitness is just a great one where we get to see thousands of people of all abilities be able to participate in the same event and be celebrated in the same way,” she said.

Caitlin Fraze has been with Cass Housing for about a year. She’s been training hard for this year’s Fall Festival, though she already knows a thing or two about big races. She medaled earlier this year in the Indiana Special Olympics.

“I got several medals in the 800 walk and the 400 walk this year. I worked really, really hard, and I think walking club had something to do with that, it helped me get ready for it,” said Caitlin.

Walking Club members train for F4F race

This year will be Caitlin’s first Fort4Fitness race. It will also be Joe Cretsinger’s first time participating. He’s also part of the CASS community and has been using the walking club as training.

“Getting better stamina and cardio, that’s the thing that takes even more time,” Joe said. “It’ll be good to get some good exercise and hopefully the weather is nice enough.”

Becca Graf says the walking club helps members of the CASS Housing community set goals and learn new skills, like leadership. Then, they apply those skills in the real world which, Graf says, improves the community as a whole.

“Many of our CORE members volunteer, at Meijer, Kroger, at the YMCA, here at Turnstone, and so we’re able to see that the skills they’re building through out programs are going out in the community and bettering Fort Wayne.

Cass Housing Walking Club member getting ready for F4F race

CASS Housing is also using the Fort4Fitness Fall Festival race as a fundraiser to support some of their big programs like home builds, and cooking and finance classes.

If you’d like to support the CASS Housing team, click HERE.

There is still time to register for the 2022 Fort4Fitness Fall Festival. Online registration is open through Sept. 28th. On-site registration is available during packet pick-up on Friday, Sept. 30th from 12-8 p.m. at Parkview Field.