Our LA Big 5K Team: Meet Max!

Meet Max, an 11th grader at Van Nuys High School, who loves basketball and JROTC! He’s running the LA Big 5K with Team Good Neighbors and we’re excited to introduce him!

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Q: Hi Max! What made you lace up your running shoes & join the Good Neighbors team?

I’m a member of the Net Project Club at Van Nuys High, and Good Neighbors collaborated with our club, introducing us to their cause and allowing us to sign up for the LA Big 5K. I personally joined because I love helping a good cause whenever possible.

Q: How’s your training going?

This will be my first race. I’ve been taking brisk jogs every now and then before I head off to school, and I’ve also been practicing my runs with a friend, Sarah, who is also running the LA Big 5K.

Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

I love working with computers, technology, and the like. I enjoy spending time with my friends, whether it be outdoors or otherwise.

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Q: What’s your favorite subject in school?

JROTC (something many schools don’t offer). The Junior Reserves Officers’ Training Corps is a substitute for regular P.E. that also teaches today’s youth discipline and determination. It’s benefited me by boosting my self confidence and allowing me to meet great people (in turn, leading me to Good Neighbors.)

Q: What’s a fun fact about you that people might not know?

When I was in elementary school, I played six different instruments: guitar, violin, piano, flute, uke, and cello. I can only play guitar and piano somewhat now.

Good luck with your first 5K, Max! Visit his page here, and meet the other team members here. Want to join the team? Visit our page

 

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OUR LA BIG 5K TEAM: MEET ESTHER!

This week, we’re introducing you to Esther, who will be running her first 5K ever with Team Good Neighbors! We’re thrilled to have her join our team, and we wish her the best of luck during her last few weeks of training!

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Q: Hi Esther! What made you lace up your running shoes and join the Good Neighbors team?

I’ve actually been wanting to run a 5K for a little time now, but never really went out of my way to do so. I haven’t intentionally run since probably P.E. class! Now I have a great opportunity and motivating reason to run, and for a great cause too!!

Q: So, we heard that this is going to be your first 5K! How are you going to train, and what do your family and friends think about this?

I’m still transitioning myself into training mode and got a bit sick just recently. I’m still recovering, but I am so excited!! My friends and family were so surprised when I told them that I was going to run the 5K. “YOU’RE gonna run?” is the overall shocked response I get. To train, I’m going to try as much as I can to go to Griffith Park and prepare!

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Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

I recently became interested in learning calligraphy and have been trying to brush up on my calligraph (pun intended!). I also like to play the piano or read, and love shopping and hanging out with my friends! I’d like to make it a hobby to travel more, too.

Q: What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

I love solving riddles or reading/watching a really good mystery.

Q: Finally, what drew you to the Project Good Sisters  cause?

As a woman who has had the privilege to freely attend school all my life — constantly being encouraged by others to squeeze out and learn as much as I can from my education, and perhaps even feeling forced at times to go to school — I know many times I have taken for granted my basic right to receiving an education. I never really recognized the hardships that people in many other parts of the world had to face in order to receive an education. I am so inspired and encouraged by these people who are each fighting for their basic right to education, and I feel really privileged to be a part of this great cause that is making a difference!

I love this quote by Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education: “In some parts of the world, students are going to school every day. It’s their normal life. But in other parts of the world, we are starving for education… it’s like a precious gift. It’s like a diamond.”

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Thanks Esther, we love that quote too, and we hope it motivates you while you run on March 14th! To support Esther’s campaign, visit here, and check out the rest of the team here

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Eating chicken skewers to fight malaria

A family in Hamdallaye, Niger, receiving an Insecticide Treated Net through a Good Neighbors community distribution

A family in Hamdallaye, Niger, receiving an Insecticide Treated Net through a Good Neighbors community distribution

Written by Phillip Song, President of University High School club, The Net Project

University High School in Los Angeles, CA, recently held an annual event called “The Multi-Cultural Food Festival,” a day where clubs sell food and advertise their clubs. Our club, The Net Project, organized a booth and sold Barbeque Chicken skewers and drinks. Our members used grills to cook the meat onsite, and our fundraiser was successful because people were attracted to our motivation to raise funds for the fight against malaria. Through this event, our club raised $240.

Signing up new students at University High School to join The Net Project club!

Signing up new students at University High School to join The Net Project club!

The money was raised for Good Neighbors, an international humanitarian and development organization. Some of their more well-known projects include building schools and water wells, and providing solar light bulbs for poor communities in developing countries. Through our club, we’re raising awareness and money to provide malaria nets to communities in Malawi, Africa where malaria is prevalent. In 2013, almost half a million children under the age of five died in Africa as a result of malaria. Good Neighbors has been providing education on prevention by teaching how to use malaria nets. Malaria is not only preventable but also treatable with a simple pill if it is diagnosed right away. Good Neighbors teaches community members about identifying the symptoms of malaria so that they can seek medical help immediately.

Registering families to provide training on prevention by teaching how to use the nets and detect early symptoms of malaria

Registering families in Niger to provide training on prevention by teaching how to use the nets and detect early symptoms of malaria

Proudly showing off his new mosquito net in Hamdallaye, Niger

Proudly showing off his new mosquito net!

We wanted to raise awareness about malaria at our school and join the cause, so we participated in our school’s Club Rush last October. It’s an event where clubs set up booths at the Grove (where the Food Festival was held) and introduce their clubs to students. Because The Net Project was a new club, many were not aware of its existence until Club Rush. Through our successful advertising, we were able to double the size of our club membership.

Yummy chicken skewers sold at the Multi-Cultural Food Festival!

Yummy chicken skewers sold at the Multi-Cultural Food Festival!

The Net Project is a successful club at University High School. Through the help of our members, we’ve raised over $500 in one semester. It costs about $10 to provide one malaria net, so through our club, so far we’ve supported 50 nets for homes in Malawi. However, this accomplishment does not stop here. We’ll continue to not only spread awareness but also make a difference in this world… we’re excited to raise an additional $500 during this Spring semester to impact more people in Malawi!

Thanks Phillip, and everyone at The Net Project at University High School, for your amazing dedication and hard work! Next time, save us a chicken skewer! :)

Click here to read more about our other amazing high school volunteers.

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Our LA Big 5K Team: Meet Steffany and Ralph!

Our Meet the LA Big 5K Team series continues this week, and we’re excited to introduce you to Steffany and Ralph Ayala. These siblings love spending time with their family, traveling, and visiting Disneyland. We’re so happy to have them on our team!

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Q: Hey Steffany and Ralph! What made you lace up your running shoes and join the Good Neighbors team?

Steffany: One of my main reasons was the story behind the purpose. I have done 5ks before but I have never done one for a purpose. I love everything Good Neighbors does, but the story behind the LA Big 5k made me excited to participate and join the team.

Ralph: I like working out and my sister asked me if I would like to participate in the LA Big 5K, and I thought why not, because the purpose has a significant value.

Q: Have you ever run a 5k? How’s your training going?

Steffany: Yes, I have run 5ks before. My training consists of having one of my best friends as my motivator, which is my brother. He wakes up at 5 in the morning to work out, so I go with him and feel motivated to finish the race.

Ralph: Yes, I have. I love working out and I’m always looking for the opportunity to get in shape.

Q: What do you love to do in your free time?  

Steffany: I love traveling, the beach, Disneyland, and shopping. My favorite hobby is spending time planning my family vacations.

Ralph: I love playing basketball and going to Disneyland.

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Q: What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

Steffany: I’m really in love and passionate about the color PINK!!! Which everyone knows… but what many people don’t know about me is that I listen to country music.

Ralph: I’m a really outgoing and funny guy, but people don’t really know that I love to read and visit museums.

Q: Finally, what drew you to the Project Good Sisters cause?

Steffany: Their smiles, and their stories. As a woman, I feel proud of each of those girls, because they are fighting for a cause that affects their lives. They are truly powerful and beautiful women, and they deserve to be treated like any other human.

Ralph: I believe that everyone deserves an education, and that these girls are making a difference by showing the world that if they can, we can.

Thanks Steffany and Ralph, best of luck on March 14th! Support Steffany’s campaign here, Ralph’s campaign here, and check out the rest of the team here!

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Our LA Big 5K Team: Meet Lauren!

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We’re excited to start introducing some of our amazing LA Big 5K team members over the next few weeks! Our team will be fundraising on behalf of Project Good Sisters, a program that creates a safe space for girls in high-poverty villages in Malawi to learn about their rights as girls, encourage them to pursue primary and secondary education, and postpone the age of marriage until adulthood.

Our first featured runner is Lauren Hughes, a nurse who  lives in Lake Elsinore, CA with her husband, Branden, and their puppy. We got to ask her a few questions between patient visits:

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Q: Hey, Lauren! What made you lace up your running shoes and join our LA Big 5K team? And are you training?!

I’m a very active person who loves the outdoors, and nothing beats getting good exercise while helping a great cause! I run my pup around our block a few times almost everyday, which is a little over a mile. So, outside of that, I don’t think I need much more training, especially since I’m not racing to win!

Q: What do you love to do in your free time?

I love all things outdoors!! Spending time with friends and family is really important to me as well.

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Q: We heard you’re a nurse – what’s an amazing moment you’ve had with a patient?

I once had a little old lady who was just not doing well overall. Her family was upset because they felt the doctors and nurses during the day hadn’t really informed them of what was going on. The patient was worried that she was going to end up on a breathing tube and really didn’t want that. I spent an hour going over the patient’s care, medications, and plan. I then had the doctor talk to the daughter and answer the questions I wasn’t able to. I took care of her for the next few nights, and every night I came in the patient would say, “oh, thank goodness it is my Lauren!” We were able to get the patient better without needing a breathing tube. The next time I came into work, she was leaving the ICU, and I stopped in her room before she left. She gave me a hug and a kiss and said I was her angel, and she would always remember my kindness and caring for her. It’s moments like those that make all the hard nights being a nurse worth it.

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Q: What’s a fun fact about you many people might not know?

I’m a left hander who was born and raised in West Virginia!

Q: Finally, what drew you to the Project Good Sisters cause?

I believe everyone should have the opportunity to an education and to make their own choices. These girls deserve to be able to see where they can take themselves, not be forced into a life of marriage at such a young age!

Thanks so much, Lauren! Support Lauren’s campaign here, and check out all of our runners’ pages here. Feeling motivated? Join the team

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