GOT COLOR? — Running columnist Nicole Hawley after the 2015 Color Vibe 5K at Proctor Park in Utica.

Color Vibe run/walk slated for Aug. 5 at Proctor Park

Published Jul 30, 2017 at 9:00am

Proctor Park in Utica will become a sea of rainbow colored powder for its fourth annual Color Vibe run/walk Saturday, Aug. 5 to benefit the Kelberman Center.

Color Vibe promises that participants will have “the most colorful fun-filled day of your life.”

Runners and walkers can register at, but can also go to for more information about the center. There’s a link to register on the center’s events page as well.

For those who have never participated in a Color Vibe run, you get “sprayed” with color before, after and all during the event. As you’re running or walking along the 5-kilometer course, strategically set-up stations will blast you with a different color. But before the event even begins, a troupe of entertainers will spread their color around as well, with additional packets of color available for purchase at the souvenir stand. And if that doesn’t sound like enough color, there are “color wars” and special activities following the run/walk. Proceeds raised from the run/walk will benefit the Kelberman Center, which provides services to children and adults with autism spectrum disorder.

The center was named for Dr. Michael Kelberman and his family, who are dedicated to the advancement of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD. Realizing the impact that ASD has on individuals and families, with 1 in 68 children in the U.S. born with the disorder, Dr. Kelberman provided leadership to a $1 million campaign to raise the start-up funds for the organization, which was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 2005.

Today the organization employs more than 175 full- and part-time staff, and provides services to more than 1,000 children and adults throughout central New York including:

• Evaluation and Diagnosis

• Individualized Education

• Social and Life Skills Enhancement

• Training and Research

The Kelberman Center, an affiliate of Upstate Caring Partners, Inc., provides state-of-the-art programs and services for children and adults with ASD and their families. Specialized staffing is highly trained to meet the needs of individuals with ASD and includes psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and educational and behavior specialists. Its team of professionals addresses the unique needs of both individuals and their families through various programs and services.

The Kelberman Center is a regional center serving individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The center is dedicated to excellence in service through:

• Prompt evaluation and diagnosis

• Individualized education and services

• Social and life skills enhancement

• Innovative practices, training and research

Paul Totaro is chairing the local Color Vibe with his wife, Lori.  

“Proceeds from the Color Vibe will support Kelberman Center recreation programs which are extremely important for children and adults with autism,” Totaro said. “Recreation programs are critical for overall well-being, as well as social skill building. These programs and services are not funded other than through events such as this, which is why we hope to spread the word throughout the community.”

Totaro said the Kelberman Center’s summer camp is another program that will benefit from Color Vibe proceeds. Camp provides continuity for children through the summer “and continues working on important skills in a fun and friendly environment,” he said.

Robert Myers, executive director of The Kelberman Center, commended the Totaros for their involvement in raising needed funds for the center’s programming.

“Our involvement with the Color Vibe was thanks to a local couple Paul and Lori Totaro, who wanted to make a difference in the lives of children and adults at the Kelberman Center,” Myers said. “In 2011 they coordinated a Zumbathon at Paragon Athletic Club to raise awareness and funds for the Kelberman Center, which was a successful event drawing large crowds for the next three years.”

“In 2014, learning of the popularity of Color Runs throughout the country, the Totaros coordinated the first Color Vibe in Utica, arranging and chairing the event, which in its inaugural year attracted a crowd of over 3,000 participants to this fun-filled and colorful event,” he added. “The Totaros’ enthusiasm and philanthropic nature have made such an incredible impact on the Kelberman Center and on the autism services we provide to children and adults in our community.”

As a runner, Color Vibe was tons of fun, as seen by the blanket of colored powder all over my face from two years ago. Proctor Park has a few challenging inclines, but Color Vibe is just a fun way to get out and not worry about advancing your time or competing against your fellow runner. So for a carefree good time, go check it out and support a great cause at the same time.