A project created last year in the Self-Expression and Leadership Program in Ireland last year was featured in the Annual Review of Barnardos, Ireland’s largest independent children’s charity. A woman named Olivia created a 10k fundraising walk and run to benefit Barnardos that became a featured example of people making a difference in the 2007 Review. The story appears below.
A Barnardos fundraiser Loves tennis
“You get to make a difference in people’s lives in communities. Way beyond what you ever imagined.”
It was a chilly afternoon when I met Olivia. However, she had already been out for a three mile run as she’s in training for the mini-marathon in Dublin. She is a runner, an avid tennis player and is also involved in a Landmark Education programme in Ireland which, she told me, is about emphasising the difference that one person can make when they create new possibilities.
With an eye to the possibility, Olivia took on the project of organising a 10 kilometre walk and run for Barnardos to raise funds for the charity. As a result of her work, she raised over €1,355.60.
Outlining her approach to this undertaking, she told me, “I’m interested in running. And having fun was the big thing. I wanted to do this for Barnardos. I read up about them and it’s all about children. It’s making a difference. And what I wanted to do just matches in with Barnardos.”
Posters were hung. Ads were placed in the local media. The run took place on the 2nd September and Olivia involved the whole community in her efforts. She was struck at how open people were to giving a hand. “People were fabulous when asked to help out. One person looked after the catering and got the sponsorship. The tennis club gave the premises free of charge – showers and all that. I got help with the posters and put a notice in the local papers. A guy in the athletic club measured the distance and took the entries. And then it was word of mouth after that.”
“You may be targeting one community, which is runners and walkers, but it ripples out through all sorts of ways that you never imagined. Everyone was so willing to do it. Different communities within the community came together. It was a wet day, but it was a real fun day. Just a great mix of people. People who wouldn’t normally run. People who walked.”
Olivia completed the circuit in just under an hour.
“People are asking me ‘are you running it again?’ I found out that people really want to help. They’re just waiting to be asked.”