What I’m doing . . .

I keep making promises to update this blog more often, and I keep breaking them. I rarely have time to sit and crank out a legit blog post, and have a hard time just logging in to write a few lines. I should just type those few lines, hit “publish” and be done with it! I’ll try.

So what have I been up to? Too much. I wish I would have blogged all summer because it would be great for me to have that sort of journal to look back through when it’s winter and gloomy. I won’t even try to recap the last 3 months, but I will say that I have been doing a lot of running. What’s new, right? Well, I’m training for my second 100 mile race, which is a mere 3 weeks away. It has been going really well . . . maybe a little too well, if there is such a thing.

As much as I love running, it takes a lot of time away from other things. That always makes me feel guilty. One thing I can do with my running, however, is use it as a way to raise money and awareness for causes. When I ran my first 100 mile race I raised money for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) Malaria Campaign, which focused on 13 African nations (Angola, Burundi, Central African Republic, Liberia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe). The ELCA set a goal to raise $15 million, while my own church’s goal was $25,000. I was able to raise about $700 to donate to the cause. It was awesome. The campaign ends on January 31, 2016, but the goal has already been met.

I was worried that since I had already completed the 100 mile distance people might write a second one off as “no big deal”. I think my friends and family think I have done more long ultras than I have. The 100 mile distance is never easy, no matter how many you’ve done. There is always a lot of work to be done. I decided to try to raise money anyway, and this time the cause is closer to my heart.

I’m raising money to help construct a school for impoverished girls from a rural village and orphanage in Guatemala. These girls have very limited access to education as it stands now. Public school as we know it doesn’t exist there; school isn’t free and there are limited spots. If space is limited, boys are given preferential treatment over the girls and are enrolled in school. Girls in this population are rarely allowed to pursue more than a few years in school before their families force them to quit. Their families either pull them out of school to take care of their siblings, to go to work to support the family, or to marry way too young. Without education, these girls are doomed to perpetuate this cycle for generations.

The land on which the school will be built.
The land on which the school will be built.

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You can help change that. You can give them a chance.

Tree 4 Hope is a Harrisburg-based non-profit organization working primarily in Guatemala. I’ve been blessed to be a part of this organization for years before it was even a “real” organization. I’ve traveled to Guatemala 3 times to work at various locations including a boys’ orphanage, and AIDS orphanage, a center for children who live in the city dump (yes, that’s a thing – tragically), and one of the worst ghettos in Latin America. Some of my dearest friends, and my son’s godparents, are the amazing founders and brains behind this organization. They gave me the honor of being on the board of this wonderful organization, and I don’t take that lightly.

Tree 4 Hope has raised money for a number of different projects over the years, but nothing like what we’re doing now. We are kicking off a capital campaign to raise $475,000 to build a school for girls and to operate it for the first year. (Subsequent years’ funding will be raised separately.) This is a large goal for us, but it’s totally doable. To do it, though, we need help – more specifically, YOUR help.

Can you spare $100 per month? You probably spend at least that much eating out for lunch 2-3 times per week. That amount provides two meals per day for a student for an entire month.

Can you spare $25 per month? That’s the cost of 5 Starbucks lattes or 5 Subway footlongs. That amount will provide the books, supplies and curriculum for one student for the entire school year.

Can you spare $10 per month? That will provide uniforms and shoes for a girl for the entire year. Think about how much you spent on your kids’ back to school wardrobes!

Anything you can give will be greatly appreciated, even if it’s just a one-time gift. Please think about the difference you can make in the lives of these girls. Consider this an investment in them!

Donate here

My husband and his business partner on a recent trip to Guatemala.
My husband and his business partner on a recent trip to Guatemala.

(Local friends . . . I’m using the gofundme page but that will close in a few days. The above link will allow ongoing pledge commitments, but gofundme doesn’t.)

My husband’s virtual reality company, Greenfish Labs, is working with Tree 4 Hope to present a unique experience at some upcoming fundraising events. Like them on Facebook to learn more.

*Source: http://www.elca.org/en/Our-Work/Relief-and-Development/ELCA-Malaria-Campaign/Our-Impact

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