Colonel Charity Challenge to raise funds for local women’s shelter

Author and philanthropist Tony Robbins once said, “life is a gift, and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility to give something back by becoming more.”

Students at Wilkes University have an opportunity to give back to their community, whilst becoming more. Wilkes University will host its annual Colonel Charity Challenge on April 23. The challenge will allow students to sharpen their competitive edge, while allowing them to have a good time in the process. The proceeds will benefit Ruth’s Place, which is the only women’s shelter in Wilkes-Barre.

Ruth’s Place, a program of Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania​, is dedicated to providing shelter and case management services for women experiencing homelessness while honoring the dignity of each guest. Using evidence-based practices, the program provides safe, temporary and short-term emergency shelter for women experiencing homelessness in Luzerne County.

The shelter also coordinates and collaborates with other service providers and volunteers to assure the provision of services that address their basic physical, financial, health and spiritual needs. Finally, they assist sheltered guests to form and follow a permanent housing plan to quickly achieve stable, long-term housing.

Ruth’s Place is a faith-based program founded by the Methodist Urban Ministry in 2003.  It operated as Ruth’s Place: House of Hope, Inc. from 2008 to 2013. In July of 2013, Ruth’s Place merged with Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania​.​​​​​​ 

“The Colonel Charity Challenge will be a series of small competitions. In the past, they’ve included activities ranging from  tug-of-war, shuttle-runs, obstacle-runs, tire flips and several other events. Teams will be competing in small groups for points, and there will be prizes for the winners” said John Sumoski, the shelter’s event coordinator.

“The specific goal is to raise money for a good cause… But also to encourage teamwork in the process. Obviously, that is a secondary goal, however,” Sumoski said.

The event’s success in the past has Sumoski excited and encouraged for this year’s challenge.

“In the past, we’ve had a great turnout,” he said. “We expect the same for this year.”

In the past, the Colonel Charity Challenge has benefitted Brian Urbanas of Bart & Urby’s and his fight against Multiple Sclerosis, Make-A-Wish, Embrace a Child in Tanzania, Children’s Miracle Network, the Bo Tkach Memorial Fund along with several other causes.

Students are encouraged to sign up and participate in the event. Teams of four women or men are being sought after. The cost of registration is $20 per team. More information in regards to signing up for the Colonel Charity Challenge is available online at The deadline to register is April 14.