CU Students Raise Money for Clean Water
by Allison Todd (B.A. & B.S. ’18)
Six Cornerstone University students raised $8,350 for clean water through a partnership with Team World Vision, a Christian organization dedicated to tackling poverty and injustice in communities worldwide.
The funds were raised alongside each student's commitment to participate in the 2017 Grand Rapids Marathon on Oct. 17. CU students Kara Martin and Ben Krueger completed the full marathon of 26.2 miles, and CU students Moriah Wilke, Grace Hamilton, Benjamin DeYoung and Wesley Kromer ran the half marathon of 13.1 miles.
Martin served as team captain, and throughout the summer, she was given several volunteer opportunities at Team World Vision events in Western Michigan, during which she continued to discover more about the clean water initiative.
"Lack of clean water is the biggest driving force behind the poverty cycle in third world countries," Martin said. "These people lack something we take for granted several times a day, and yet they are made beautifully in the image of God same as us. Across the world, 1,000 children die every day as a direct result of not having clean water. God is doing some incredible work through this organization, and I am thrilled to play my small role in it."
Team World Vision calculates $50, on average, will produce a source of permanent water to one person. Meaning, the team of participating CU students generated enough funds for 167 children in Africa to receive clean water.
"When students find a cause they are passionate about, there's no stopping them," Kelly Natelborg, event manager for Grand Rapids, said. "They have such potential to rally their friends, family and even their professors to join in and change the world alongside of them. This was evident in Kara Martin's leadership of the team. She encouraged the CU team through training this season and rallied 20 plus people to come out and cheer in the pouring rain on race day. The entire CU team has made such a huge difference in communities in Africa this year by providing clean water to over 160 people in Africa."
And the CU students were not alone. Calvin College, Grand Valley State University and Grace Bible College, along with Cornerstone, had around 40 student participants. Combined, the group raised over $24,000, which is equivalent to around 480 children receiving a clean water source.
"It was so powerful to be a part of a huge team all raising money for the same cause and running for the same goal," Hamilton said. "It made it so easy to run hard through the whole race because I knew I was running for something much bigger than myself. I have been running cross country and track and field for the past seven years, and this is my first year not running competitively. I was just running to have fun and raise money for a great cause."
During the spring semester, Team World Vision visited campus and presented the opportunity for CU students to join the fight for clean water. This is what really inspired students to get involved.
"I wanted to be able to have the motivation to run a race for more than just myself, so I decided to do it with Team World Vision," DeYoung said. "I think it is good to have a regular global cause to not only have an option to tithe but also to help the less fortunate. I think everyone should try to run a half marathon and a marathon in their lifetime. Why not do it for a good cause?"
While weather conditions were not ideal on race day, the students still enjoyed their opportunity to race for children in need of water around the world.
"I had a great experience in this race being a part of such a great team of Cornerstone students as well as running for a great cause," Hamilton said. "Most people would not have liked the weather on the day since it was super windy and rainy, but I loved it. I also had a lot of family and friends who came out to support me. My experience on race day could not have been any better."
The rigorous journey and all of the poignant lessons it taught already has the CU students planning for next year.
"Just two days after they had crossed the finish line, all my teammates signed up for next year's race," Martin said. "We still could not bend down to pick a pencil off the floor, and they already wanted more. That is a testimony to the amazing journey this race is."
Run for Clean Water
The team is already beginning to recruit members for next year's Grand Rapids Marathon on Oct. 21, 2018. Register for the full or half marathon with Team World Vision and begin fundraising for clean water today.