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LA MARATHON | Fast Friends

In the old days, an adventure for a cause might look like riding off with a fellow knight to defend the nearby villagers. Today, it’s probably a little more like grabbing your best friend and running the LA Marathon to raise money to build clean water wells for people in Zambia. Here are some friends who have teamed up for just such an adventure as a part of our Good Neighbors marathon team! Take a look..


MaribelLily1TEAM: Maribel & Lily

So Maribel, where are you and Lily from? How’d you meet?

Lily and I met about 5 years ago while working at Hard Rock Cafe on Hollywood Blvd. We trained together, became fast friends, and have been ever since!  Lily was fresh from New Orleans and I am originally from Corvallis, Oregon. Lily is now a Massage Therapist for Burke Williams and loves her career. I am currently a hairstylist and makeup artist at Sarasuta Hair Salon in Studio City, and freelance for TV and film.

What does a day of training look like for you and Lily?

We usually train daily and in the early hours- before heading out to work. They say the hardest part of training is getting that first foot out the door, and boy is that true. We both work long hours, so as exhausted as we may be, we push ourselves up and out daily! Running for such a great cause is definitely a good motivator to get us going. As Lily says, “I’m slow, but I’m moving!!”

Haha. Have you had any funny moments or memories in your training?

Lily’s funny training moment was a bug flying into her mouth the other day! (We’re pretty sure the cars driving by thought it was funnier than she did!) As for me, other than the occasional trip-and-almost-fall (so you pick up your speed to make sure you don’t) is my frequent funny moment. I’m super clumsy, so it’s not too embarrassing anymore!

So what’re your favorite pump-up songs to help push past that clumsiness?

Our pump up songs!!! Lily’s go to is HAM, by Kanye West and JayZ. Mine is Work B**ch by Britney Spears.

Nice. And with all this training, you’re probably eating healthy, but what’s your favorite cheat day snack?

Both of our favorite cheat day food is PIZZA!! Pizza! Pizza.MaribelGive

Mmm. And last but not least, what do you want your finish line hash-tag to be?

We’ve agreed our finish-line hash-tags will be: #tinderellarunsla #willrunforbeer #maribelmademedoit

Haha. Sounds like you’re the right kind of instigator to have around.


 

EunjiGina1 copyTEAM: Eunji & Gina

Tell us a bit about yourself, Eunji. Where are you from? How did you meet Gina?

My name is Eunji Park, and I was raised in Korea until the age of 9 when our family of four immigrated to San Jose, CA for my father’s job. In 2014 our family moved to Irvine, CA, and I started attending Irvine High School, which is the school I currently attend as a junior. That’s where I met Gina, who is my partner in the LA Marathon, one of my best friends, and Good Neighbors club co-founder at our school. Something in us just clicked and we were able to become close very quickly. We are really excited about this new club, and all the upcoming events like the LA Marathon!

We love everything you’re doing with the Good Neighbors High School Club! Have you ever taken on something as big as a marathon before?

I haven’t actually overcome anything like this before. I enjoyed working out, just not running. But ever since I was young I’ve loved challenging my own self-discipline. I even gave up my favorite foods- meat and dairy- for six months for no reason! This love for a challenge is what got me into running. I found out that I actually can run more than a mile! That fact was eye opening to me so I wanted to see what my limits were.

Wow. So how’d you first get connected with Good Neighbors?

I joined a Christian dance ministry called “God’s Image” when I lived in San Jose. I was very committed to dancing and singing for God- who allowed me to experience all the events in my life and become who I am. The dance EunjiGiveteam supports Good Neighbors projects, which is how I first found out about the organization. When I heard about child sponsorship, I became even more interested in the organization because one of my life goals is to support a child with my own money. I’ve been researching more about it, so I think I’ll start my sponsorship sometime this month!

That would be…aaamazing!


 

RalphOrlando1TEAM: Ralph & Orlando

Ralph, tell us about you and Orlando. Where are you from?

I was born in El Salvador; Orlando was born in the USA. We met in our parents’ church and were both around twelve years old when we started to hang out.

So have you guys ever tackled something like a marathon before?

Outdoor activities weren’t too important to us, but we grew to enjoy them. This will be the first time we both go into something as rigorous as a marathon. Orlando was involved in his school’s Decathlon team, so he’s aware of the amount of work that goes into an event like this. This will be the first time for me to run this distance, but in high school I was part of my school’s cross country team- and I love to run- so it’ll be an exciting time for me.

That’s good to hear! What does a day of training look like for you?

It looks like sleeping, running, running, eating, weights, and more sleeping. I can attest to Orlando’s workout because it’d be about the same. Sounds like fun up until your legs are aching and you can’t even stand up! haha.  

Haha. So what’s on your playlist to keep you going?

My favorite pump-up song would have to be “6pm in New York” by Drake, it’s just an adrenaline filled song that fuels you up during your run. Nothing like getting the blood cooking.

Speaking of cooking..what’s your favorite cheat day snack?

My favorite snack of the day would have to be cucumber, lemon, and salt. So delicious. My nutrition hasn’t changed because of the marathon.  I don’t eat most food that’s bad for you, except a lot of TACOS! Soda is a huge Screen Shot 2016-01-21 at 4.02.02 PMno-no. Fast food is already nasty, so I don’t really have “cheat” meals. 

Okay, envision race day as you cross that finish line…what do you want your hashtag to be at that moment?

It would have to be #whatatimetobealive 

That’s good. We might just borrow that one.


You can give individually to any of the these teams by clicking on the “Give Now” buttons with their image, or scope out the rest our LA Marathon team here! Thanks for reading and being a part of our journey. We appreciate it more than you know!

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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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7th GRADERS WALK FOR WATER

Last school year, an amazing 7th grade class from Texas supported our Water For Life project. We had the chance to talk to their inspiring teacher about the thoughts behind their generous act!

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Q: Hi Dr. Rebecca Sam! Tell us a little bit about yourself.

A: I am a 7th grade teacher at TMI-The Episcopal School of Texas, located in San Antonio. Many people do not realize it, especially children, but water is a very important resource here in Texas. I do a lot of work regarding water awareness in the classroom with my students, especially touching on worldwide water issues.

Q: How did you inspire your students to get involved with our Water For Life project?

A: We watched the video on your website about the wells in Chad, and my students became very emotional. There were some tears and the consensus was “We HAVE to do something to help!” (I’ll admit, this is exactly how I hoped they would respond!)

Q: We heard you used several different tactics throughout the school to spread awareness – tell us about them!

A: Father Michael Koehler, the Middle School Chaplain, and I wanted to make this a very meaningful experience for everyone, so he suggested that we plan to have the 7th graders do a Water Walk during our school’s Green Day (environmental awareness day). This would build awareness both among the 7th graders themselves and the other students on campus. All of the students had so much fun with this! We made it a little competitive for them, and they even experienced what it was like to carry water in buckets for a long distance to their families that day. The entire day had a huge impact on everyone.

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The 7th grade then sponsored a $5 Free Dress Day to raise money. Since TMI is a uniform school, students will jump at any chance to free dress. They raised quite a bit and then we sent it off!

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Thank you for all that your organization does. It really touched our hearts and we are so happy to be able to help in a small way.

Thank YOU, Dr. Sam! We hope your class is extremely proud of themselves for supporting such an important cause. If anyone else wants to help get clean water flowing in other communities, please visit our website, and stay tuned for our newest water campaign: Coffee Meets Water!

 

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The Water Project: Spreading Awareness Through Bake Sales & Pizza

Written by Joy Gursky, President of the Water Project Club at Zoo Magnet High School, Los Angeles, California

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Club members Maddie, Joy, Yanelyn, and Ruby all set and ready for their bake sale

Last summer, a viral online challenge known as the “ALS Ice Bucket Challenge” began circulating online. People who participated in the viral challenge had good intentions, but every time I watched a video of someone dumping ice and water on themselves, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the fact that Los Angeles was- and still is- experiencing one of the worst droughts in the city’s history. Furthermore, there are 783 million people around the world who do not have access to clean water.

So, instead of complaining about the injustice of the situation, I decided to at least attempt to do something to make the slightest dent in the issue. I established my school’s Water Project Club to support  Good Neighbors’ Water For Life Project. The goal is to raise money to build wells in developing countries where local people have no clean water. Did you know that 80% of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water sanitation? That’s a scary fact!

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Derrick and Virginia support the Water Project!

I founded the club with fifty-five dollars worth of pizza to get the ball rolling (thanks, Mom) and an overwhelming fear of public speaking. The first few meetings were painful, but I stuttered my way through them. Surprisingly, my personal chapter of the club has been very successful from the beginning. We’ve raised $400 through bake sales, created our own t-shirts, and managed to spread awareness surrounding the global water crisis.

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Delicious goodies!

Overall, the Water Project Club has been a phenomenal experience for me. It’s taught me that I want to center my life around serving other people through international travel and aid. In some ways, I really feel like the club has helped me grow up because I’ve learned how privileged I am to live in a place where I never need to worry about where to get something that’s absolutely essential to survival: water.

Thank you for starting such an important club at your school, Joy; and huge thanks to your mom for the pizza and support!  Learn more about how YOU can help people get access to clean water by clicking here

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