The ERFA Blog
Well, Heroes you have made it to the final 24 hours until the race! You have done such a great job and I'm proud of all the money that you all have been able to raise so far! It is going to make such a BIG impact on the students at New Dawn!! THANK YOU!
You still have time to raise a little more…bug that friend or family member one more time or ask that person you've been meaning to talk to about Ellie's Run. We have been sharing all of the important things that the money raised will go towards at New Dawn over the last couple of months, but as one more motivation for you to finish strong we are excited to announce the Hero Prizes for this year!
The Kid Hero Prize:
The Kid Hero who raises the most money will win a signed copy of What's Your Mark? which features Ellie Ambrose and the story of Ellie's Run, as well as a $100 Hard Rock gift card!
The Adult Hero Prize:
A drawing will be held to determine the winner of a $150 Amazon gift card. For every $100 raised your name will be entered into the drawing.
Good Luck!! Keep directing people to your fundraising page to donate online, and if you have collected any checks or cash you can bring them to us at the Heroes Tent at the race! We can't wait to see you tomorrow morning…come by and say hi!
As Ellie’s Run for Africa approaches its 9th year on May 18, 2013, the Nashville community and its global race supporters rally together to keep the dream alive. Since 2004, Ellie’s Run for Africa has raised over $410,000 in partnership with African Leadership to help African children access the educational opportunities they need to find a future beyond the slums. Today, we get to learn about the New Dawn School in Kenya by having a Q&A with Dr. Phil Renicks, Education Advisor with African Leadership Inc.
Q: Would you explain the relationship between African Leadership, New Dawn School and Ellie’s Run for Africa?
A: I have been an advisor with African Leadership for the past 4 years where I monitor the progress of various educational institutions that receive financial support from African Leadership. I also lead the onsite training that teachers need to be effective leaders. During one of my trips to Kenya with African Leadership, I visited the New Dawn School to evaluate the academic program and to get a good picture of the school’s progress. It was immediately apparent that the students’ progress was limited by New Dawn’s facilities. I notified the Ellie’s Run team of the plans for a new Resource Learning Center, which meant the need for additional support for the school. They rose to the challenge. The relationship between New Dawn and African Leadership has been an ideal match. Donations from Ellie’s Run for Africa are closely monitored by African Leadership to ensure that funds are being spent wisely.
Q: What has New Dawn been able to accomplish through this partnership with African Leadership and Ellie’s Run for Africa?
A: As Ellie’s Run has partnered with African Leadership and New Dawn over the years, dramatic changes have come to the school. In the beginning all of the students were confined to the same room throughout most of the day and were limited by the textbooks accessible to them within their school community. Within the past year the New Dawn School has opened a New Resource Center equipped with a library, computer lab, a science lab, 200-seat assembly hall and teachers’ work room. Ellie’s Run has raised more than $410,000 for education at New Dawn and other education projects in Africa over the past eight years. The proceeds from Ellie’s Run for Africa help the school maintain day-to-day operations.
Q: How is New Dawn School becoming sustainable and bettering the community within Kenya where it resides?
A: The teachers and students at New Dawn are doing an astounding job of doing the best with the resources that they have available to them. They could be an inspiration to schools here in the U.S. on how to learn and work greener. For example, the school is now obtaining all of its electricity from both solar panels and batteries donated by a company in Eastern Pennsylvania. The library is stocked with 60 eReaders that are charged by the sun, giving children access to thousands of literary works in place of buying hardbound books. The school is also providing jobs for the local community as the school has its own livestock and gardens to provide vegetables and milk for the students. There is a water catchment system to catch the rainwater from the roof to be used for irrigating the crops. The buildings are made from used shipping containers. The school even makes use of a bio-digester to turn cow dung from the school’s three cows into methane gas that is used to cook porridge for the student’s breakfast.
Q: Wow, it appears that they are a sustainable educational institution! As Ellie’s Run continues to support New Dawn School, where do you think the biggest needs are?
A: Ellie’s Run for Africa will always be a critical piece of ensuring that our 160 New Dawn students and 13 teachers have the resources they need to obtain a strong educational foundation. The cost of education in Kenya, just as it is everywhere else, continues to increase. Right now we are challenged just to meet the yearly budget. The increased cost of living and transportation make it more difficult for the teachers since they are already on a subsistence level salary. Students depend on the two meals that they get at school every day because they have very little to eat at home. The cost of food, even though some of the vegetables are grown at school, is increasing on a monthly basis. I challenge the Nashville community to continue to step up and get involved in Ellie’s Run. The proceeds from this race keep the school moving forward so that these students can break the cycle of poverty both physically and spiritually for a life outside the slums. The students at New Dawn have hopes and dreams just like students here in the United States. They want to be doctors, lawyers, teachers, etc. Will the Nashville community at large continue to help them fulfill their dream? I surely hope so.
Ellie's Run for Africa Event Details
Date: Saturday, May 18, 2013
Time: 6:30 a.m., registration and entertainment and activities begin; 7:30 a.m., 5K race starts; 8:30 a.m., one-mile kids' fun run;
Registration: Register online through Thursday, May 16 at 11:59 p.m., or register on site
Activities: Ellie’s Run for Africa includes a certified and professionally timed 5K race, a 1-mile kids’ fun run, food, entertainment, games and cultural activities for families. The 5K race will take runners on a route through downtown Nashville and near Music Row. Participants are welcome to run, walk or even push a stroller.
Location: 1st Avenue & Broadway, in front of Hard Rock Cafe, downtown Nashville
Parking: Free parking is available from 5:30 a.m. to noon at the following locations: Premier Parking, 147B 4th Ave. N., and Pinnacle, 150 3rd Ave. S.
Thanks to our sponsors Eakin Partners and Premier Parking, we are able to offer all event attendees FREE parking beginning at 5:30 a.m.
View ERFA Parking 2013 in a larger map
Are you ready to run? Here's the 5K course for Saturday!!!
With 8 days left until Race Day, it is time to use every avenue you can to raise money for the students at New Dawn. In addition to emails, phone calls, and face-to-face interactions, in 2013 social media is huge part of our daily communications, so why not use it to reach you Hero goal?!?
Make your Facebook status something about Ellie's Run and include a link to your personal fundraising page. Also, if you go to the Ellie's Run page you will find a picture that you can use as your profile picture between now and the race!
The first thing you may want to do is shorten the url of your personal fundraising page using a site like tinyurl or bitly. Then Tweet away and include the link to your page! (Also, make sure you are following @elliesrun and RT any tweets you like to encourage your friends to sign up for the race)
Even though Instagram is for pictures, you can post a picture of yourself in your Heroes T-shirt, a picture of students at New Dawn or another picture you could get from one of our Facebook albums. In the comments ask people to join you in donating towards your goal and of course include the address of your fundraising page!
Over the next week, keep in mind Enoch, Lucy, Francis, Margaret Chao, and all the other students and faculty at New Dawn who are counting on our support! Ellie's Run for Africa would not be nearly as successful as it is without our Heroes . If you have not signed up as a Hero there is still time to register, we would love for you to join us!
The 9th Annual Ellie's Run for Africa is fast approaching! We are ready. Are you? Introducing the 2013 ERFA Race T-shirt!
Drum roll please......
There are a lot of good reasons to be an Ellie's Run Hero. Most importantly, you get to help the students at New Dawn in a big way and make a lasting impact on their lives. You get run or walk the 5K on May 18th. But you also, get an awesome t-shirt!
Not only is this a cool shirt, but it is soft and comfortable! We often hear that people decide to be a Hero because they want the t-shirt. The t-shirt can be yours with any size donation after your $29 registration.
This year's t-shirt was designed by the talented Gregory Fenske. I asked him to share how he came up with this design and this is what he said:
One of the first things I envision when I think of Africa is the sun rising and setting across the plains of the Serengeti, and usually this image is accompanied by the silhouette of an acacia tree. I wanted to find a way to include this in the shirt while paying homage to Heroes shirts of the past that display the shape of Africa and, at the same time, representing those we are serving through Ellie's Run.
The result was that very same image from my mind with the acacia's branches weaving the shape of Africa as the sun rises to signify a New Dawn.
The ones that we are serving through Ellie's run are the students at New Dawn and they are worth every minute you can spare and every penny you can raise! The money raised through the Ellie's Run and the Hero program allows students to have hope through education. No amount is too small- money goes much farther in Africa than it does in the US!
Steps to get the Hero shirt that all the cool kids are wearing:
1. Register to be a Hero
2. Add a donation to your registration (any amount will do) and/or ask your friends and family to donate on your personal fundraising page on the Ellie's Run website.
3. We will send you a shirt once we receive your donation!
If you have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Today I asked Ayla Birch who is a member of the Heroes Team to share with you why she chose to be involved with Ellie's Run as a Hero and how she went about raising money last year. Ayla has run the 5K for the several years and last year decided to be a Hero (and won the adult Hero prize!). If you have not already registered to be a Hero this year you still have time to do so! Just click here to get started and you can make a difference like Ayla has chosen to do!
In 2004, I had a very dear friend of mine who was planning a trip to Africa on a missions trip. We spent many nights talking about how excited she was to be going and how she'd dreamed of going since she was a little girl. The more we anticipated her trip to Africa, the more jealous I got. I was very happy that she was getting to go, but I instantly felt my heart longing to go as well. It is no secret that kids have a huge chunk of my heart and I had often toyed with the idea in my mind of helping in orphanages. I didn't know where I wanted to do this, until Jamie started discussing Africa. Somehow (I believe it was God, but you can believe what you choose), I had the opportunity to go Kenya, Africa on the missions trip with Jamie in 2005. The trip was amazing and a complete life changer for me. The parts that I loved and thrived on were going to the schools and orphanages and just being with the kids.
A moment that really knocked my socks off was when we were at an orphanage in Nairobi and the kids were so excited because it was “Hot Chocolate Day.” What they had in their cups was cold, dirty water with what looked like dirt (most likely it was cocoa, but it was more gray than brown). It wasn't mixed or anything. The “cocoa” was just floating in clumps on the top of
their water. They were elated to drink this! My first thought was that an American child would've have thrown a fit if this was the hot chocolate they were given. That kind of appreciation for something we take for granted everyday really hit me. Those kids have very little and yet, they loved life. I have since dreamed of going back. I often say that if I was single, I would have moved to Kenya and just spend my time loving on those kids, most who don't have parents because of AIDS. In fact, when Brian and I were discussing when to start our family, it centered around our decision of when to go to Africa. I'm so thankful that I married someone who has the same giving heart that I do (this conversation was instrumental in me falling in love with him). Brian is a pediatrician and has always wanted to do medical missionary work in Africa. We were trying to decide if we wanted to spend a couple of months in Africa before or after we had kids. Obviously, having children now won out. We are still planning on spending time in Africa and even taking our children with us (when they're old enough) to instill the value of helping people who are less fortunate; an important lesson that I think every child should learn. Brian and I are even planning on adopting from Kenya after we have a couple of our own children. I'm excited to give a child (who knows, maybe more) a life they may otherwise not have known.
Until then... Ellie's Run for Africa is a 5k race in Nashville that helps education in a slummy area of Nairobi, Kenya. Ellie is a girl who watched a video of the hardships of African children in church and it broke her heart. At ten years old, she wanted to do something to help those kids. That's what Ellie's Run spawned from. This is the 9th year that the run will be done. Brian and I both participated in Ellie's Run in the past. I even had the honor of having my picture taken with this amazing girl. I was very gung-ho about this race and even sported my sarong and wrist bands that I bought at the Striking Doucas in Kenya. Just so you know, sarongs are NOT easy to run in. While at the event, I kept seeing people wearing shirts that said, “I'm a HERO” on it. I looked up what this meant later and instantly decided that I wanted to be a Hero. Being a Hero means that I run for sponsors. I am not usually one to ask for money for things. I didn't even have a baby shower because I just feel awkward getting things when I know that there are others in need. However, I feel slightly better about asking for money in this because 100% of this money goes to these kids in Africa to help with their education. Every little bit helps; even if it's only a few bucks. If you are unable to give (I understand that times are hard), then give thoughts and prayers for the schools that are being supported.
Bottom line, I lost my heart to the children of Africa eight years ago and I've never gotten it back and don't care to have it back. I have so many hopes and dreams of ways to help the children in Africa, particularly Kenya. I've even started learning Swahili! Basically to raise the money for Ellie's Run, I bugged a bunch of people on Facebook and email and shared with them my heart like I've just done with you.
Some of our favorite stories that we hear from Ellie's Run come from kids who choose to be Heroes in order to help other kids they don't know in Africa. Of course when a child is a Hero, their parents are involved as well. Today, Leslie Mitchell shares her families experience as Ellie's Run Heroes. There is still time to register yourself or children to be Heroes if you haven't already this year!
About eight years ago, our family started attending Midtown Fellowship. It was not long before we heard about a girl named Ellie who had started a race to raise money for schools in Africa. We were intrigued and more than a little amazed that such a young girl had dared to dream big... and that her parents let her! Honestly, as a mom, I was most curious about Ellie's parents who supported this endeavor (and no doubt worked obscenely hard to pull off the event). When our two kids were still in preschool, we decided to sign them up to be heroes. We knew they were too young to truly "get it", but it seemed like a great way to start opening both their eyes to the needs of others, and opening their hearts to the idea of serving others. In an effort to make it somewhat relevant to them, we set a goal to raise enough money to send 22 kids to school--that was the number of children in their combined preschool classes. Our oldest son was extremely shy and our daughter was at the tail-end of toddlerhood and was barely using cohesive sentences, so having to personally ask people to support them seemed unlikely. So we made a video of them making a pitch and we sent it to our friends and family. The response was great and our kids would get excited each time we got news of another donation. To our surprise, we surpassed our financial goal! Not to mention our whole family had a blast on race day.
Shortly after that we started the process of adoption and eventually adopted our third son from Ethiopia. My husband and I traveled to Adis Ababa to adopt him. That entire experience cemented to us the importance of being involved in Ellie's Run. Providing children with a quality education not only gives children a greater hope for their future, it can preserve their family by making a seemingly impossible situation possible.
Since that first year, we decided to stick with our format, so every year we do another video with our kids. We have two in elementary school and our youngest about to start kindergarten, and honestly, I still don't know if they "get it." But as I continue to learn as a mom, sometimes we don't do things because they are so fabulously successful, or because our kids understand the deep meaning of it all. It's just the right thing to do. And we pray that one day the light bulb will go off in their little brains and hearts and we will not longer be the ones having to tell them why this is important. They will just know.
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