Category Archives: Project Cookstoves

Our Crescenta Valley High School Club!

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In case you didn’t already know, our team is running the LA Marathon this Sunday—just three days away from now, which is nuts! To show some support, the students at Crescenta Valley High School’s Good Neighbors club spent their lunch hour creating awesome posters for our runners. Joshua, Gina, Annie, Hogan, and Sunho had their meeting in an art classroom and decorated posters with an array of colorful markers and craft supplies. Joshua and Sunho will be coming out to Sunday’s marathon, so we can’t wait to see them there, cheering on our team!

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And now, 3  fun facts about Crescenta Valley High:

#1: Our former donor management assistant Winfred and intern Eugene went to high school there!

#2: Their Good Neighbors club currently partners with four other high schools to raise money for clean water wells in Africa.

#3: In December, they sold breakfast burritos as a fundraiser!

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Yeah, they’re pretty great. Thanks so much, guys!

Learn more about our LA Marathon team and why we’re running.

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Our LA Marathon Runners: Meet Nelson!

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We’re so excited to have Nelson Climaco (pictured above, left) on our LA marathon team! We first heard about him when our staff was hanging out with Matilda, who works at B1 Bread Shop next to our office—best baked goods ever, by the way!—and she told us her cousin was a big marathon runner. She asked him if he’d like to run for our team and luckily for us, he said yes!

Nelson grew up in Huntington Park, is a seasoned LA marathon runner, and is currently an assistant manager at Quickie’s Oil Change Experts in La Verne, CA.  Let’s get to know Nelson a little better:

Q: Hey, Nelson! What made you lace up your running shoes and join our team for the LA Marathon?

Back in high school, I first joined the cross country team to keep myself from getting into trouble. Nowadays, I’m a very active person who’s always finding something to do outdoors. This happens to be my third marathon, and since I know that by running I can help support a good cause, it feels great.  I’m planning to run as many marathons as I can!

Q: How’s your training going so far and what keeps you motivated?

My running is going pretty well. I always manage to run nine miles most days as part of my training, and sometimes even more. I get a lot of support from friends and family during my training and at the events. Even when I’ve stopped running for a while in the past,  once I get back to it, it feels like I never stopped. It’s pretty nice to be able to run. It’s a gift that not everyone has.

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

I like to go hiking, running, and fishing. I also love to watch TV shows or any new movies that are out.

Q: What’s something about yourself that not many people know?

I try to be a very helpful person and I love to volunteer at my local church. I’m always helping out in whatever way I can. This year, I collected clothes from different places to donate, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. I’m planning to continue this every year. I feel really happy when I can help others.

Q: And lastly, what drew you to our Project Cookstoves cause?

My cousin Matilda happens to work at a bakery in LA and Good Neighbors posted a flier that they were looking for runners for their team. I got in touch and learned more about what they were trying to accomplish with Project Cookstoves. It’s a great cause that helps kids and families, and I really wanted to help out in any way I could.

Thanks so much, Nelson! To support Nelson’s LA Marathon run + our Project Cookstoves, visit his fundraising page here. Also, check out our entire team here and read Q&A’s on our other runners here

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Our LA Marathon Runners: Meet Katrin!

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Our Meet the Runners series continues this week and we’re introducing you to the lovely Katrin! Katrin is a fifth grade teacher in Tampa, Florida but she grew up living in Virginia, Kansas, and Indiana. She attended Ball State University and double majored in Elementary Education and Spanish, and earned her Masters’ degree from Nova Southeastern University.  She’s flying all the way out here to run the LA Marathon with us and we’re thrilled to have her on our team—and so glad she had time to answer our top 5 questions:

Q: Hey, Katrin! What made you lace up your running shoes and join our team for the LA Marathon?

It has always been on my bucket list to run a marathon before I turn 30, and since I turn 30 in July, I was running out of time to meet my goal!  My friend Adriana mentioned that she was going sign up to run a marathon and I told her I would love to do it with her. So I signed up and have been training ever since.

Q: How’s your training going so far and what keeps you motivated?

My training is going very well.  At times, it’s hard to get out there and run the miles but I love a challenge, and when I say I’m going to do something, I give it 110%. Training for this marathon is no different. My goal is to run the whole marathon without walking, so that’s what gets me out there every week to do my super long runs.  I just hit the 20-mile mark and it was an amazing feeling to run that far.  It helps that I have a lot of great friends and family from all over that are supporting me and keeping me motivated—as well as Ryan Gosling pictures to look at during my long runs. :)

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

I love traveling, watching sports, working out, hanging out with friends and family, watching my television shows, and reading.

Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself that not many people know?

I’ve been lucky to have visited over 20 countries!  I love to meet new people, see new things,  and gain new and unique experiences.  My big  dream is to one day be on the TV show  The Amazing Race.

Q: And lastly, what drew you to our Project Cookstoves?

Adriana told me about Good Neighbors and their Project Cookstoves, so I looked it up and could not believe the startling facts that I read, such as children spending their days collecting firewood instead of going to school.  As a teacher, this really resonated with me because I believe education is so important. I want to do everything I can to make sure children everywhere can get an education and live a happy, healthy life.  I’m very happy that I signed on to run the LA Marathon as part of this charity team because I really want to help fundraise and support this cause.

Thanks so much, Katrin! To support Katrin, visit her fundraising page here. Check out the rest of our team here and read more Meet the Runner interviews here!

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Our LA Marathon Runners: Meet Adriana!

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We have some pretty awesome runners on our LA Marathon team and we’re excited to introduce them to you over the next few weeks! Our team will be fundraising on behalf of our Project Cookstoves, which provides families with new, safe, and energy-efficient stoves to improve their health and ensure children stay in school instead of spending their days collecting firewood.

Our first featured runner is Adriana Zyskowski, a Communications and Events Manager at Youth Policy Institute in Los Angeles, CA. We got to ask her our 5 top questions:

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Q: Hey, Adriana! What made you lace up your running shoes and join our team for the LA Marathon? 

Two years ago, I sat watching the LA Marathon from a window eating donuts and laughing. Last year, I went to the finish line to see my friend, Katie, who flew in from Pennsylvania run, and still laughed, thinking that 26.2 miles is unreal – why would you EVER want to do that?! This past October, however, my friend Nellie, who’s the Campaign Manager at Good Neighbors, mentioned the organization had signed on as an LA Marathon charity. So I decided that I wanted to try it out and see if I could actually commit to doing it. After another friend from Florida decided she wanted to fly out to LA and run it with me, there was no turning back!

Q: You love surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding–how’d you get into those sports?

I grew up with a group of friends and boyfriend who are into these sports. I’ve always been into unique activities and ideas, and I was always drawn to these sports. I think they’re fun, and make you feel good!

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Q: When you’re not out on another athletic adventure, what else keeps you busy?

I love traveling and am constantly trying to come up with the next place to visit. I also love the beach, reading, and hanging out with friends and family.

Q: How’s your marathon training going so far and what’s keeping you motivated?

I have on and off weeks (and those off weeks are ROUGH!) but I’m keeping motivated for a few reasons: Katie from PA reminded me that I get to run on the beach every day instead of in freezing East Coast weather and so not to take it for granted; I want to prove to myself I can do this; and if my family and friends are going to support me and Good Neighbors, I better make it to the finish line!

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Q: Lastly, what drew you to our Project Cookstoves cause?

I’ve always had a passion for supporting projects in developing countries. I am grateful for how I grew up, and can’t imagine living in a place where a stove—something a lot of us take for granted—is one of the most dangerous objects in a household in Guatemala. I’ve known Nellie for over 3 years now. When she told me some of the surprising and sad facts about cookstoves, like how the toxic exhaust leads to 1.9 million premature deaths annually, or that children’s futures are affected because they spend hours gathering biofuels instead of going to school, I knew that I wanted to support the cause. Growing up in a household where my father was a teacher and our entire family values education, I know that it’s not fair that children miss out on an education because they have to risk their lives to live. I want to help ensure that families aren’t dying prematurely and that children have the chance at an education.

Thanks for sharing with us, Adriana! Support Adriana’s fundraising campaign here and check out our other runners here. Next week we’ll be featuring our Team Captain, Tony Rodriguez!

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