A couple of weeks ago, I was on a long run and began contemplating my audacious goal: 13.1×10. I go through many inner ramblings on my runs (a big reason why I consider running to be my Meditation in Motion). I wanted this goal to be big…to have a true impact on not only myself, but the local and global community. So, I decided I’m running for elephants and education.
I’m very much so a “big picture” kind of person. I have to really focus when it comes to narrowing down the details. To do this, I practice what I preach to my students and follow what I like to call the Cycle of Mindful Leading. It allowed me to organize the thoughts around me and to make the details more clear on this new, exciting goal.
The Cycle of Mindful Leading:
I created this cycle to guide my students in building their awareness. Using this cycle allows for us to build our self awareness. Once we have self awareness, only then can we have peer awareness. From there, we can work together to have community awareness. Communities can come together to build global awareness.
So, with these two concepts in mind, I present to you the ramblings that created Running for Elephants & Education:
I am privileged in having the opportunity to not only my basic needs, but to an endless amount of possibilities. Running not only creates the space for me to build this awareness but it is also one of the many privileges I am fortunate enough to have in my life. I am aware that I want to use my privilege to help others meet their basic needs.
Now that I am aware of the thoughts around me, I can communicate that I want to run races to support local causes. While running can help locally, I can do more to help globally. Shoes are not only a privilege that take me on all my running journeys, but they provide me with an overall daily wellness as I walk all over.
People all over do not have the basic privilege of owning a pair of shoes. I not only own multiple pairs to take me through day to day living, but I’m privileged enough to own pairs of shoes to take me through all hobbies as well. Around the world, people are inhibited by their lack of shoe ownership. They are unable to walk to school, they are unprotected from environmental pathogens. They need this basic privilege that so many of us take advantage of.
For each race I run, I am asking for a sponsor. However, I’m asking for a different kind of sponsor. This sponsor will donate a pair of shoes.
These were the thoughts that then led to a Service Learning Project. Throughout the year, my students do research based on specific second grade social studies and science standards. Each quarter is filled with projects. They spend weeks asking questions, researching, collaborating, creating and educating each other on the different topics. This year, all of our projects will tie into Elephants and the Elephant-Human Relations Aid.
The EHRA is an organization that provides education and support in Namibia. They work to allow for peaceful coexistence between the elephants and civilians while also protecting the elephants from poaching and hunting. This organization has also done a lot of work in renovating local schools. These students are who we will be donating the shoes to.
I’m a firm believer in the power of education (obviously…). Each race was already going to be dedicated to a group of students. To further their role in this project, students will also have a goal of obtaining a pair of shoes to donate. They will use their projects as a means to educate other classes as well as community members about elephants, the organization and why people should care about this cause. Even if they are unable to donate a pair of shoes, they will be playing a HUGE role: educating their community on such a major issue!
So, not only will I be able to meet a personal, physical and mental goal, but I will also be guiding my students in understanding how they are global citizens who have the worlds most powerful tool to create change: education.
Some details are still in the works, BUT if you are interested in being a sponsor for one of my races (aka donating a pair of children’s shoes) PLEASE contact me ASAP. The total number of shoes we need is in the ball park of 40. Shoe sizes will be known soon. But, please still let me know if are interested in donating once these details are confirmed.
Happy running and educating!
PS. I’m totally running every race in a elephant-ear headband.