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Azalea Festival kicks off with run to benefit Buddies

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Our celebration of Spring hit the road running Saturday morning.

The Azalea Festival Fun Run/Walk kicked off the festivities. It's an event that benefits the Cape Fear Volunteer Center's Big Buddy Program. The program is all about helping at risk kids in the community through mentoring. Big buddies help their little buddies excel in school, sports and life.

"This [program] is just the beginning. Because once those individuals realize how positive something like this is, the sky is the limit," big buddy Joshua Adams said before running the race. "Because these individuals, they are going to be the teachers. They're going to be the police officers. They're going to be the politicians. They are going to be the leaders of tomorrow, and if they are not put down the right path, then where are they going to end up?"

Adams has been a big buddy for about three years. He says the changes he's gotten to see in his little buddy over the years are incredible. Adams encourages everyone to get involved, give some time and some funds.

The first 5K runner finished in under 20 minutes.

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