15 years ago I ran my first marathon with the goal to qualify for the 2000 Boston Marathon. I achieved that goal, and now I am preparing to run another marathon – The Bank of America Chicago Marathon – with a much more important goal: to help disadvantaged youth and adults in transition living on the island of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
I’ll run the 26.2 miles – even if I’m not as fast as I was 15 years ago – but I need your help to achieve my goal.
On October 12, I’m gonna run like it’s 1999 (or maybe more like it’s 1968)
In the 1960’s, my grandfather – then the Episcopal Bishop of Pittsburgh – met Bill Strickland, a young artist and community leader who had a dream of changing people’s lives by exposing them to the arts. My grandfather introduced Bill to community members who provided some of the initial support that helped create the Manchester Bidwell Corporation in Pittsburgh, PA in 1968.
Today, Bill’s simple philosophy – that you can enable students to become productive society members by constructing an empowering atmosphere of art, light and music with a staff that strives to realize the genius in everyone – has led to centers for arts and technology across the U.S., and the effort is starting to spread globally to communities like St. Croix in the Virgin Islands.
Virgin Islands Center for Arts & Technology
Bill and I met for the first time two years ago, after my sister in law heard Bill’s story – and his references to my grandfather – at a conference she was attending. Since that fortuitous encounter, we’ve been working together to launch the Virgin Islands Center for Arts & Technology (VICAT) here in St. Croix.
I believe that a program like VICAT can help the people of St. Croix, just as the centers in Boston, Cincinnati, San Francisco and other communities have helped expose disadvantaged youth to the arts and provide vocational training to adults in transition.
I am running Chicago to not only help raise money for VICAT, but also share our vision more broadly – especially with local businesses who we can partner with to provide training for their employment needs.