Two years ago I was introduced to Vogel Alcove- an early childhood development center and school for homeless children in Dallas. I had the privilege of touring their original 15,000 sqft. facility in the heart of Downtown, and was immediately taken by the children laughing and playing on the enclosed playground. Earlier that morning, Karen Hughes, CEO of Vogel Alcove, described the trauma that these kids endure each day- from waking up in new and strange places, to the uneasy feeling of not knowing where their next meal would come from. I tried putting myself in these kids shoes, and simply couldn't imagine all the uncertainties they face at such a young age. I often think of the kids smiling faces as they played on the jungle gym that morning, and am reminded of the hope that Vogel Alcove provides for a better future for them. Shortly after that visit, I was asked to join the inaugural board of directors for Vogel Alcove's young professional organization, Flight. I served as the VP of Fundraising for a year and a half, and in that time, established a major fundraising and community engagement event called Flight for the Alcove. Myself, and a handful of individuals, worked tirelessly to make our first event a HUGE success... and it was! This 'Amazing Race' type event has now become a staple for Flight's annual fundraising. We wrapped up our first year as a board by donating more than $50,000 back to Vogel Alcove and serving approximately 10,000 hours of volunteer time. Just recently I was named the President-Elect for Flight, and will serve a 3 year term on the board. And while all these accomplishments are great, I have to say, my favorite part about joining Flight has been the people I have met and the friendships I have made along the way. Now... On to the racing part!! When I decided to participate in my first half Ironman event, I knew I wanted to give back to Vogel Alcove in some way. So, in my hours of running, biking, and swimming I came up with a plan. 70 sponsors for 70 miles! I am combining my love for these kids, and my love for this sport with those that love and support me! On November 8, 2015, I will put on a Vogel Alcove branded tri-suit with the names of 70 individuals on my back, and I will conquer Ironman Austin 70.3!! As I am constantly reminded by in my training- This distance is far too long for you to ever feel "fully prepared". However, if you have the will to fight and the will to win, you can get there! And I know that's Vogel Alcove does on a daily basis- provides these kids with the will to fight for a better future!