Five Local Charities Aim To Win Harbin Hero Challenge

When you think of heroes, images of Superman flying through the air, Spiderman climbing buildings and spinning webs or Wonder Woman capturing bad guys with her lasso of truth enter our thoughts.

But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and they don’t have to have super powers to be heroic. Firefighters, policemen, paramedics, first responders, teachers, volunteers and so many others help serve, protect, educate and help our communities each and every day.

Harbin Clinic is honoring five nonprofit charity groups who help people in Rome and Northwest Georgia. These charities received the most social media nominations in the Harbin Hero Challenge in August and will receive a $500 donation.

The five charities are:

  • Summit Quest
  • Hospitality House for Women
  • Rome YMCA
  • Harbor House
  • DIGS, Inc.

These charities are now competing for the $1,000 top prize. This week, we will take a look at these five great charities, how they help the community and what they think their super hero and super powers are.

You can help determine the overall winner by registering for the Harbin Hero Hustle 5K and two mile health walk set for Saturday, October 15, in Downtown Rome and by competing in the pre-race costume contest.

DIGS, Inc.

Through their safe housing opportunities, leisure activities and community involvement programs, Developing Independence Growth and Security (DIGS) provides individuals with developmental disabilities in Rome with developmental disabilities ways to enrich their day-to-day lives and to have fun in the community.

Barbara Paul, DIGS’ Executive Director, imagines the organization’s super hero as DIGS-Dash.

“DIGS-Dash’s super power would be to have fun,” she says. “He would thank the community for supporting DIGS and their mission, and to brighten up our members’ day. He would throw a party, dance and bring all our friends together.”

Online race registrations allow each participant to give two points to the charity of their choice.  Race-day registrations will give one point to a charity.

Harbor House

For more than 21 years Harbor House has helped thousands of abused children, by providing prevention and intervention programs along with special events for families in Northwest Georgia.

Gail Garland, Harbor House’s Executive Director, imagines the group’s super hero would be named the Roman Shield.

“Our hero, The Roman Shield, would use his or her powers to help shield the children of our community from abuse,” she says. “It’s our job as adults to protect our community’s children and tell families that they are strong and things will get better.”

Hospitality House

The Hospitality House for Women has been a beacon of safety and refuge for domestic violence survivors in Floyd County since 1978. The organization provides legal aid, counseling and other services needed to ensure victims’ safety.

The Hospitality House also provides services and safe spaces for men and educational programs for the community. Through education and early intervention, the Hospitality House hopes to raise awareness and inform individuals about domestic violence.

The Hospitality House imagines their superhero as Beatrix Spectra.

“She is a bearer of happiness and strength. She uses her powers to fight against hatred and violence,” says Erin DeMesquita, Community Outreach Coordinator for Hospitality House. “The Hospitality House’s league of superheroes will be out in full force at the Harbin Hero Hustle”

Rome-Floyd YMCA

The Rome-Floyd YMCA has been providing health and wellness services and community outreach programs to the residents of Northwest Georgia for many years.

From free afterschool activities and meal programs, to coat drives and youth and adult sports leagues, the YMCA strives to meet the needs of everyone in the Rome community. 

“Our superhero would be Captain Community Builder,” says Amy Patterson, Membership Director of the Rome-Floyd YMCA. “His superpower would be strengthening the foundations of our community.”

Summit Quest

Summit Quest provides services to children and families in the community through support groups, outdoor adventures and an annual publication. By partnering with organizations, Summit Quest seeks to ensure those in the community affected by cancer can receive resources and support needed.

“When I think of our super hero it would be more like a team of heroes like the Avengers,” says Williams James, Summit Quest’s founder. “We are made up of staff, volunteers, donors, community partners and program participants. Together, we use our collective powers to meet cancer head on with strength, hope and service.”

Summit Quest aims to increase awareness of the support services and programs they provide, so individuals in the community know they are never alone in their fight against cancer. 

Costume Contest

The pre-race costume contest also can earn points for each charity. Costume contest categories include:

  • Best hero
  • Best villain
  • Best junior hero (age 10 and under)
  • Best league of heroes (ensemble of five or more heroes)
  • Best dynamic duo

Contest winners earn an additional 10 points for one of the five charities.

Be sure to go to to register online for the event and to support your favorite local charity.