by Tracy Curran and Alecia McClure
Over a thousand people gathered on a bright, sunny morning in Denver, Colorado on May 21st to run in honor of empowering adolescent girls everywhere. The majority of participants were young girls, so picture this sweet and inspiring sight: girls in tutus, girls with handmade capes flowing behind them, girls with color and sparkly glitter in their hair. Girls in groups being encouraged by their coach, and some running alongside their Dads. Girls giggling and chatting, other girls seriously trying their best to finish the 5k race without stopping to walk. A long snake of neon green “Girls on the Run” t-shirts could be seen along the rim of Cherry Creek Reservoir.
This event was AfricAid’s annual Fun Run fundraiser. Each year, we partner with other like-minded organizations, and form a team to participate in a local event. This year it was Girls on the Run, a nationwide program for girls 8-13. In 20 years, it has grown to 200 locations in all 50 states. The organization’s focus on teaching life skills to girls seemed the perfect match to our mission.
“Running is used to inspire and motivate girls, encourage lifelong health and fitness, and build confidence through accomplishment. Important social, psychological, and physical skills and abilities are developed and reinforced throughout the program. At each season’s conclusion, the girls and their running buddies complete a 5k running event which gives them a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals. The result – making the seemingly impossible, possible.” (Girls on the Run website)
We are proud to report that our team raised about $3,500 in donations to help support AfricAid’s Kisa Project. That gives seven bright young Tanzanian women the opportunity to join the program. Our Colorado She’s the First partners were Project Education South Sudan, Sacred Valley Project, She’s the First – CSU and Starfish Impact. After the race, the Directors of all the organizations shared a tent and chatted with the public about their mission and work. Maria Rosa Galter invited girls from Denver to write letters to the Kisa Scholars. This was such a popular activity that we ran out of paper!
AfricAid Board Member, Tracey Curran, had this to say about the experience:
“ Girls education. Girls empowerment. That is why I took part in AfricAid’s Gallop for Girls Team at the Girls on the Run 5k event. The Kisa scholars in Tanzania are so grateful to have the opportunity to receive a secondary education. I am grateful to the people who sponsored me for this event. Every time I trained for the 5k, I would think about how important the Kisa Project is to these girls and I wanted to help make their hopes and dreams a reality. I am honored to be part of the AfricAid organization and all they do in Tanzania.”
This is such a fun and rewarding activity – join our team next year!