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Last summer I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Guatemala and meet the wonderful people from the village of Plan de Avila. With the help of Hunger Relief International, they introduced us to the village they had been supporting. We were welcomed with signs, posters, and grateful hellos from the locals as we entered their village. We entered through the unsteady wooden bridge with chicken wire on the sides to keep you from taking a swim in the river between their village and the rest of Guatemala. With the help of three years of high school Spanish, I was able to greet the grateful people with a “Hola” and “Como Estas!”  Besides that, a friendly smile and nod was the common greeting because of my lack of Spanish. 
Throughout the week we built latrines, distributed water filters, shared our testimonies (with the help of a translator), attended a local church service, and played games including a friendly soccer match next to their two-room schoolhouse which supported the 63 students enrolled there. Coming back home I started to notice all the little things I took for granted, from unlimited access to clean water, to a secure home that wasn’t made out of metal sheets and wood. I decided to make a promise to myself to go on a mission trip every summer. Through the church I attend, New Life Chapel, we had planned on going to Uganda this summer to help the many there who were living in extreme poverty. Sadly, due to Covid-19, the mission trip had to be canceled.  For a while, I felt the promise I made had been broken.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved playing soccer. However, when I was nine, I found another athletic passion that I would always find myself going back to running. My mother had taken me to a local 5k and I loved it. Since then I’d always been waiting for the next race. It wasn’t trying to get first that pushed me to do these races, it was going the distance that I had gained an attraction for. In seven grade I decided to put in the time and train for a half marathon. After running a few of those, I made the switch to challenge myself in training for triathlons. More recently, last fall, I completed a 70.3-mile triathlon. I noticed all of these races were fundraisers. Fundraisers for local hospitals to national guard – they all went to a good cause. In search of another race this summer, I realized this would also be unachievable because of Covid-19.
This led me to the idea of doing a fundraiser run to raise money for Hunger Relief International. More specifically a 28.4 mile run for the combined population of Haiti and Guatemala which is 28.4 million, and both countries are supported by HRI. This was a way to still help those in poverty during Covid-19 from right here in Ohio, while once again working with an outstanding organization: an organization whose goal is to improve and protect children and families in Haiti and Guatemala. I’m excited to be a part of raising support for these countries and I hope you will join me in donating money to help those in need.