BENEFITING: Boys and Girls Club of Columbia, Missouri
ORGANIZER: THE IRONMAN FOUNDATION
EVENT: YOUR JOURNEY, YOUR CAUSE
I have never felt what it’s like to be in dire need of something essential. Growing up, I had everything. I was given everything I could dream of but gave very little in return. The generosity of a few crucial individuals in my life facilitated a very privileged upbringing. Once instance in particular initiated my understanding of just how incredible the opportunities I had been presented with were. I had never felt undeserving before then. When I asked how I could repay the debt I felt I owed, the response was to ‘pay it forward’. This was a difficult concept to grasp at first but after five years of reflection, I have formulated a plan to do just that. My current endeavor is raising money through the IRONMAN Foundation in support of the Boys & Girls Club of Columbia as they work towards building a gym for their students. I want to open doors for others the way so many people in my life have opened doors for me and providing opportunities for the kids at BGC is an ideal route to do so.
The Boys and Girls Club of Columbia works tirelessly to maintain a safe, fun, educational environment for school-aged children. Every activity proctored at BGC is developed around three core program areas: Good Character and Citizenship, Healthy Lifestyles, and Academic Success. As a Dean’s List Student, Government employee, and elite athlete, I am learning the importance of time management, initiative, and work ethic. As a 20 year-old working towards autonomy, I am also learning the importance of financial management, community service, and philanthropy. I believe these characteristics are molding me into a positive role model for young ambitious individuals such as those enrolled at BGC. One of the 2015 goals for the club is to allocate enough funds to build a gym for the students enrolled. This gym could be a life-changing haven for these kids. So many students drop out of the Boys and Girls Club as they become teenagers, but with the addition of a gym on campus, the older students can continue to feel that they are a part of something extraordinary at the Club throughout their teenage years. The older kids need a safe, healthy alternative to associating with potentially delinquent company- somewhere they can gain self-respect and realize their full potential. A gym would do just that for so many of these young adults. BGC gives children a reason to be good by not just teaching their students, but teaching their kids to want to learn crucial life and academic skills that will propel them towards success. My goal is to raise money and awareness for the Columbia chapter of the BGC through my experience as an ironman-trainee. In donating toward the cause, you will not just be financially supporting an organization- you will be providing opportunities for kids that they otherwise would never be presented with. These opportunities will demonstrate IRONMAN motto, “Anything is Possible” and allow the students at the Club to develop ambition, preserve their integrity and harness their full potential.
In May, I will travel to The Woodlands in Houston, Texas to race at IRONMAN Texas. This will be my first iron distance race, but I am no stranger to the brand. After competing in multiple 5150 and 70.3 races, I can confidently say that IRONMAN is one of the most professional, well-run sporting companies in the world. The inspiration, enthusiasm and sportsmanship experience at an ironman event is contagious, and through the IRONMAN Foundation, the IRONMAN spirit is spread by supporting non-profit organizations all over the world. Using the IRONMAN Foundation to fundraise ensures that all donations are tax deductible, with 92% of all money donated going to the Boys & Girls Club (8% due to unavoidable internet processing fees) in addition to delivering all raised money to the Boys & Girls Club in one sum after the race. Donations from individuals could be given on a money per mile pledge. With this idea, individuals or organizations could donate X amount of money per mile that I race (140.6 miles total). This way I can emphasize the volume of work to be done on race day. I will also post how many miles/ yards/ hours I trained in a certain day/ week and people could pledge an amount based on a week’s worth of training as well. Lump sum donation will also be gratefully accepted. My hope is that seeing the amount of work I will put into and the reward I will get out of a race of this magnitude will show the kids at BGC that it’s okay to dream big and to demonstrate the infinite potential for success once they commit to their goals.