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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WATCH: Water For Life

Our 7-minute video will forever change the way you look at water. For millions of men, women, and children, clean water is not a concept they’re familiar with—in fact, they have never even seen it before.

We went to Chad, Africa last year to document our Water For Life project. Watch how a clean water well can bring a village back to life.

 

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Haiti, 4 Years After the Earthquake

We’ve come a long way in four years.

This Sunday, January 12th, marks the fourth anniversary of Haiti’s catastrophic 7.0 earthquake in 2010. Right after the quake hit, Good Neighbors arrived with an emergency relief team to provide food, water, tents, and medical support to thousands—and ended up staying. Since then, we’ve established an official field office in Port-au-Prince to identify the most urgent projects and focus on community development. In four years, our supporters have helped us build 31 new homes for displaced families and two new primary schools for children in Wharf Jeremie, one of the most dangerous slums in the region. The homes currently house 50 families and the schools support 615 children and 27 teachers.

As a new year begins in 2014, we’re centering our attention on the rural village of Oranger, where 300 kids in the community still have no access to an education. The few that do attend school study in makeshift classrooms made out of cut cloth and wooden sticks, with no real tables and chairs, and no textbooks. Our goal is to raise $18,000 to build new schools and cover these children’s tuition, books, and lunchtime meals. We believe that giving Haiti a fresh starts begins with giving every child an education, and we’re calling this initiative Project Promise300.

IMG_3317 Kids in the village of Oranger, Haiti currently study in makeshift schools. We want to build them a brand-new school complete with real desks, chairs, and school supplies.

IMG_4029 A young girl in class at one of our schools in Wharf Jeremie.

IMG_4061Every child is provided with lunchtime meals.

Be a part of Haiti’s future by investing in Project Promise300.

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