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LA MARATHON | Meet Katrina

 

A meaningful encounter can happen literally- anywhere. Trader Joes for instance. It may seem like your typical grocery store, where you check off your typical grocery list, and rush past your typical shoppers. But if your name is Katrina Deaton, Trader Joes might just be the place you get recruited by an enthusiastic stranger to join in their next great adventure. But we’ll let her tell the story…

 Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

To keep this from becoming an ad for a dating site, I’ll skip my height and astrological sign. I’m originally from Philadelphia, PA. I moved to LA almost four years ago to pursue my career in writing. I’m a poet that also writes scripts for television, films, and theater. I’m saving the novel writing for my seventies.

Have you always enjoyed running? What made you start?

My relationship with running is like the average relationship someone has with a parent, I love it, but sometimes I just don’t feel like dealing with. For the most part, once I create a healthy discipline with it, my body craves it. I use it  to get out unwanted energies or to escape my reality for awhile. And of course, we can’t forget the awesome physical conditioning it creates. I currently work at Trader Joe’s and many of my coworkers are health nuts who eat very well and do marathons, iron man’s, and cross training. I wanted to fit in with the cool kids. It was the best form of peer pressure I ever succumbed to.

Have you ever tackled something as big as a marathon before?

KatrinaRunThis is my second marathon. My first marathon was with the Rock and Roll LA Marathon. Before then, tackling life seemed to be a pretty big thing :-)

What inspired you to run the LA Marathon on the Good Neighbors team?

I was ringing up James Kyson and his wife, Jamee [Co-Captains for Team Good Neighbors] at Trader Joe’s. They looked like they had been working out and when asked, they said they had just come from a run. I mentioned to them that I had started training for a marathon a month earlier I could no longer attend. It was in Vegas. They told me all about Good Neighbors and invited me to be apart of the team. I was soooo excited. I didn’t think twice about it.  I always strive to do things with a purpose, a purpose that serves someone other than myself. What better way to do this than to run, which serves me, and raises money for a phenomenal cause.

Do you have a mental strategy to combat thoughts of quitting if the marathon starts to get tough?

I usually talk down to myself or pray or both. It usually sounds something like this, “dear God, please help my lazy, out of shape butt, get up this hill.” If that doesn’t help, the children and elderly people passing me by, usually put some pep in my step.

Have you uncovered any parallels between your training journey and your life journey?

Absolutely. Discipline is the name of a game I don’t like to play. But, it helps me in the long run; No pun intended. Running also allows me to convene with nature, my surroundings, and myself in a way I wouldn’t ordinarily connect.

What’s your favorite pump-up song?

I don’t believe I have one. I have to work on that.

What’s your favorite cheat day snack?

Every day is a cheat day. If I ran, I earned it. I love doughnuts.

What do you want your finish line hashtag to be?

#wheredoweeat

Haha! Roscoe’s anyone?  Thanks Katrina!

If you’d like to fuel Katrina’s feet, she’s running to raise donations for our Zambia water project! The more donations the more inspiration in her tank- just click the grinning link below!

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Anna

LA MARATHON | Meet Anna

It’s not every day you meet someone who can pronounce Kyrgyzstan, much less who grew up there! Meet Anna (Anya): with a Korean smile, a Russian accent, and a heart to  push past her own limits! We love getting to know more about the people who choose to go the distance; not only on our Good Neighbors USA LA marathon team, but to provide clean water for our friends in Zambia as well! Take a look…

 

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

Originally born in Uzbekistan, I grew up in Kyrgyzstan since I was two. When I was 17, my family moved to Los Angeles and I’ve been living here ever since. Although I am fully Korean, Russian is my first language. Hence, my name in Russian is pronounced Anya. I graduated from Pepperdine (Go Waves!) and currently work as a senior healthcare analyst. My life motto is Gandhi’s quote “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Have you always enjoyed running? What made you start?

I believe I started running in college. Running became a good way for me to release stress and give me some energy boost. I like running outside – it helps me to take my mind off of things.    

What’s your favorite pump-up song?

I don’t think I have a favorite one, I like to mix it up. I listen to anything from R&B to hip hop to reggaeton.

Have you ever tackled something as big as a marathon before?

Running a full marathon has been my goal for many years, but I was always hesitant and worried I wouldn’t be ready. My former coworker Kayley -who ran the LA Marathon last year-  encouraged me and told me I could do it. I don’t think I will ever be fully ready (both mentally and physically) to run 26.2 miles, so I just decided to do it this year. I Anna1learned about Good Neighbors from my friends Esther and Kohyun who work for Good Neighbors, and I also ran a 5k with Good Neighbors last year.

What does a day of training look like for you?

It really depends but I try to mix up my training routine. I go running outside and hit the gym a few times a week.

Have you had any “I hope no one saw that” moments during your training?

One day I went for a run even though I was uber tired- never going to do it again! As I was running, I tripped over something, plummeted on the ground, and pretty much kissed the pavement. That was quite painful aaand embarrassing. Haha!

Do you have a mental strategy to combat thoughts of quitting if the marathon gets tough?

I think the faith that people have in me- including my family, friends and coworkers- will give me strength to finish. I don’t want to let them down. I promised my friend Esther that I will finish the race (she is one of my biggest supporters!). Also, knowing that I am running for a good cause will be my motivation.

Have you uncovered any parallels between your training journey and your life journey?

After I ran a half marathon last August, I realized that I will never Ann2know how far I can go until I give it a try and step out of my comfort zone. The same principle applies in life: we will never achieve our dreams and goals unless we push ourselves and take risk. I had been telling myself I wouldn’t be able to run a half marathon- much less a full marathon- in the near future because it just seemed unattainable. Some people have even tried to talk me out of it. But here I am daring to challenge myself. I know that both a marathon and life journey won’t be easy- there will be roadblocks on the way. But I am willing to take a leap of faith, and dream big!

What’s your favorite cheat day snack?

Donuts of all shapes and kinds.

Most important of all, what do you want your finish line hashtag to be?

I know it sounds very cliche, but I would say… #ididit

Thanks Anna!

If you’d like to donate to Anna’s cause- the Good Neighbors USA water well project in Zambia- click below!!

 

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LAMblogManai

LA MARATHON | Meet Manami

Manami has been working with Good Neighbors Japan since 2012, but came out recently to visit our US branch! She’s in a different country and culture, but decided to throw a half-marathon into the mix!  We find that inspiring. Here’s a little introduction to this gem. 

 

Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from?

I’m here in the US from Good Neighbors Japan!!  I’m visiting LA to learn all about fundraising.

Have you always had an active lifestyle? What made you start running?

I love riding my bike on weekends to explore new places! To be honest, I’ve always been more interested in bike riding than running because it’s faster and I enjoy the breeze. But Good Neighbors gave me a reason to start running!

Have you ever tackled something as big as a marathon before?

Never! I’m actually a bit nervous because  this is my first fundraising experience here in the US. Haha.

What inspired you to run the LA Marathon for Good Neighbors?

I’ve been working with Good Neighbors Japan since 2012, and I just love everyone in this organization and what they do for people with real needs. It just made sense to join in with something good our US branch was doing while I was here!

Have you had any “I hope no one saw that” moments while training?

Ha, I think sometimes I have a pretty grim face on while I’m training. I always hope no one sees that, but it’s not likely.

Do you have a mental strategy to combat thoughts of quitting if the marathon starts to get tough?

I’ll definitely remind myself why I’m running the marathon, and think of the people in Zambia who are waiting for our support!

Have you learned anything from running that has shifted your perspective of life?

Yeah, it’s shown me that every single step gets me closer to my goal, even if the process seems slow.

What’s your favorite cheat day snack?

Skittles and Chex Mix! Because we don’t have them in Japan 😉

MANAIBUTTON

Manami and the rest of our Good Neighbors marathon team are raising money for our Zambia water well project! Help Manami reach her goal!

 

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MEET AYUNI: INDONESIA

We are fortunate to meet thousands of children around the world who are a part of our Child Sponsorship program. We get to see them develop and thrive, and we are honored to assist them on their path to becoming adults who can contribute to the growth of their community.  Read on to catch a glimpse of Ayuni’s life, one of our sponsored children from Indonesia.Ayuni1

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(Hello)

My name is Ayuni Novitasari, and I am from Indonesia. I would love to introduce a little bit about my life, my siblings, and my family.

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This is my house, and I live here with my parents, siblings, and my cute cat. Meet my mom! Her name is Fitriyanti.

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This is my younger sister Anisa, and my cute cat Angora.

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I am a joyful and happy girl. I love having fun, like any other kid. One of my favorite things to do is take my bicycle for a ride in my neighborhood.

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Someday when I grow up, I would like to be a flight attendant, but before starting my career, I would love to learn to cook and renovate my house.

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I will study hard to be smart and learn other languages. That way, I can make my dreams come true, but also make my parents and my siblings always happy.

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(Goodbye)

Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ayuni!

You can help children like Ayuni through our Child Sponsorship program! Your sponsorship will support a child with his/her education, nutrition, medical care, and more. For more information, please visit our website.

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WHY I GIVE: MEET JEFF

We have partners that pop up from all around the world–connecting hearts to form a wide-reaching web of care–but sometimes…sometimes we find them just down the hall. Jeff Suarez is an everyday business man and father who happens to work across from the GNUSA offices in downtown LA, close enough to toss a paper airplane, or share a coffee break with us. He may work in a completely different industry, but there is a thread of compassion that has linked our offices, and our hearts, in this common goal. Grab your latte and sit with us in a coffee break convo with our friend Jeff…

GNUSA: Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Jeff: My name is Jeff Suarez. I was born and raised in LA and currently live in Valencia with my wife and two children, Mateo & Simon. I studied International Relations at USC, and lived in New York City between 2005-2010. I’ve been working at Farfetch.com since 2011 as an Account Manager.

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I got involved with GNUSA through an open house you guys had a few years ago. On the way out, I was given a package about its programs which also contained a profile of Luis, who is now my sponsored child. This was also a special season for me because it was around the same time my first son Mateo was born. I’ve been a child sponsor ever since.

GNUSA: What’s your passion behind sponsoring a child?

Jeff:  I have loved interacting with kids ever since high school. Working with kids has just always been a highlight for me. And since GNUSA works a lot with kids, it was an easy decision to sponsor Luis, and then interact with him through my sponsorship.

GNUSA: Have you ever been to other countries?

Jeff: I travelled to Europe, and my family is from the Philippines – so we go there every so often. I think for me, somehow I really related to kids in difficult circumstances around the world, and I don’t just see them, I feel what they’re going through. I know that GNUSA uses its resources to build programs and provide opportunities for these children, and I love that I’m a part of that. Anything I can do, I try.

GNUSA: What interests you more about the child sponsorship than other programs?

Jeff: I have always wanted to be part of a sponsorship program. Your office is across from mine so it just made sense for me to sponsor a child with you guys. It’s wonderful to walk into work every day and know I’m a part of what GNUSA does.

GNUSA: Since you have kids, how do you plan to introduce them to your sponsored child?

Jeff: (haha) At some point we will. My oldest is three, so we’ll probably have to wait until he gets a little older before we tell him about his brother Luis!

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I think this sponsorship experience will help me instill in my children a continuing awareness of the needs of other children and families around the world. Being from the Philippines- a third world country- my wife and I are keenly aware of issues that communities have, and that children face just to be able to survive.

GNUSA: What has sponsoring Luis for 3 years meant to you?

Jeff: Giving $35.00 a month hasn’t felt like a burden for us at all because we understand why we are giving, and exactly how it is really helping Luis.

GNUSA: Besides helping him financially, how else do you feel Luis is impacted through your sponsorship?

Jeff:  I believe I’m reassuring him that there is someone out there looking out for him. One day I hope to write him and share with him about my sons and family. I know I sure love seeing the photos and letters I get from him.

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GNUSA: Have you ever thought about a lifetime commitment with your child?

Jeff: Yea, I had never thought about it, but building a longer relationship with the sponsored child is unique. I think that would be great! Like I said before, I have two boys and it’s exciting for me as a father to see them grow. It’s no different with my sponsor child Luis – it’s such a joy to see his growth, and how he is enabled to continue moving forward.

GNUSA: What has been your favorite part of sponsoring?

Jeff: Receiving the letters and drawings from Luis. I love posting them on the fridge!

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Thank you Jeff, for sharing your story with us!  To learn more about sponsoring a child, click here.

 

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