[#TeachMeTuesdays] On the Move for a Cause
This past Sunday, more than 20,000 participants from upwards of 50 countries hit the downtown core clad in running shoes and funky gear in support of their respective charities at the annual Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Setting itself apart from other marathons, this one is unique as it offers a charity challenge component where over 180 local and national charities receive donations from those who fund-raise on their behalf. Millions of dollars are raised annually from this one single sporting event. I can attest firsthand that this is a truly special event. After all, this was my fourth year participating in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, raising funds for The Corsage Project in partnership with the Children’s Aid Foundation. Over the course of four years, our small but mighty team has raised a whopping $45,000 — none of which could have been accomplished without our dedicated teammates and the support of the friends and family who sponsor them. I know what you’re thinking: I’m not a runner… this is not for me! However, there are many ways to get involved. People register to run, walk or wheelchair the 5K, half-marathon or full marathon. There is even a 5K category for folks toting baby strollers. The event is filled with families. I was awestruck by the number of kids on their parents’ shoulders, as well as casual walkers, fast runners, folks in wheelchairs and yes, a guy in a sumo-wrestling suit. No matter who finished when, at the end of it all is a finish line and, of course, a teachable moment. Events like this one send a powerful message to our youth by presenting a wonderful way to combine athletics and the importance of community service. I, for one, have walked every year with my own mother, without whom I wouldn’t have been engrained with the personal drive to give back. “This year, we had close to 150 Team HOPE members and families who participated in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon’s Charity Challenge, raising close to $40,000 for the Children’s Aid Foundation,” says Linton Carter, Chief Development Officer at the Children’s Aid Foundation. “This type of event is a wonderful philanthropic teaching activity for kids and young people. My 14 year old son and I fund-raised and ran it together. He was impressed with the thousands of people raising millions of dollars for charities across the city and I know he carries that philanthropic orientation into his school by serving on the Save Our Society student council.” Event day is inspirational filled with great energy and camaraderie to participate side by side with others passionate about their specific cause. Many arrive in costume, waving their banners and wearing their charity’s t-shirt with pride. There’s also that charismatic few who take fundraising to an entirely new level. It’s not every day you meet someone who walks the entire 5K in a sumo-wrestling suit. That would be Jeremy, one of our new friends from UrbanPromise Toronto. Are you convinced? Lace up, select a cause and join us in 2014!