Update (November 10th): I ran the Athens Classic Marathon, and completed my fundraising goal of $2000, on November 4th! While it was a very difficult experience, I always remembered I was running in support of Push America. Thank you all for you generous support, both financially through the Push America Challenge, and personally during my training. Without you none of this would have been possible!
Every year, several Peace Corps Armenia volunteers participate in the Athens Classic Marathon as a way to challenge themselves, both physically and mentally. Initially, I thought they were crazy, but on November 4th, 2007, I will become one of them! I have registered to participate in the marathon for many reasons; originally, it was to push myself in new ways, as I’ve never run more than a 5k in my life. I have been running regularly since I joined the Peace Corps last August and am ready for the challenge that the original marathon route in Athens will bring.While establishing personal goals are very important, I have always been one to do for others, and not just myself (hence my two years in the Peace Corps). In June, I helped manage a handicap accessibility project for a local school who will begin Special Education programs next year. The construction process and my ongoing work with people with disabilities reminded me of my extensive volunteerism at my university through my fraternity’s philanthropy, Push America. During my four years, I helped with the construction of several wheelchair ramps in rural Missouri for underprivileged families, spent two spring breaks and one summer vacation volunteering at camps for people with disabilities around the country (while raising over $4,000 for Push America). After speaking with Push’s office staff about my projects, and later my desire to run the marathon, they suggested I participate in the Push America Challenge.
That is how “Push to the Finish” came to be. The Push America Challenge encourages current and former members of my fraternity, Pi Kappa Phi, to challenge themselves in unusual ways while raising support and awareness for Push America. Currently there are several participants, who are doing everything from Ironman Triathlons to sitting on a couch counting to a million (no frat jokes, please!). They range in age from 21 to 65, but all are pushing themselves in support of a philanthropy they care about. Push America has touched me in many ways, some of which are impossible to describe, and running a marathon in support of Push is another way for me to give back and ensure others can share my experiences, and more lives (both volunteer and client) can be touched.
I have committed myself to raising $2,000 for Push America during the next two months. I have worked very hard during the Peace Corps, my marathon training, and through various volunteer activities throughout my life. All I ask for in return is your support. Since I am in Armenia, the easiest way for me to collect money is online, so Push America has established a secure, online donation system. All donations are also tax deductible, as Push America is a 501(c)3 non-profit. But please remember: your donation will go much further than encouraging me to run 26 miles; it will directly help and inspire thousands of volunteers and people with disabilities. I would like to thank you in advance for support of this project!
I have composed several pages of information about Push America and the Challenge, my history of service with Push, along with marathon and donation information. The links to these pages can be found below, or on the right side of your screen.