Runners from across the state will unite in Athens on Saturday for the Second Annual 5K Run to Empower, with proceeds to benefit the Empower Campaign, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating AIDS orphans and vulnerable children in Uganda, Africa.
The Empower Campaign began at Ohio University in 2006, and has since spread to three other universities around the state. Student volunteers spearhead the organization's fundraising efforts, selling hand-crafted beaded jewelry made out of recycled paper throughout the year. So far, Ohio University's campaign has enabled the education of more than 2,000 children in addition to supporting five women's cooperatives, which house approximately 50 women each.
Last year's 5K run attracted more than 20 student organizations and 500 runners participated in the 5K Run to Empower, raising more than $15,000 and making Run to Empower the largest university 5K of the year. Even more runners are expected at this year’s event.
Through fundraisers such as the 5K and weekly jewelry sales, The Empower Campaign has helped educate thousands of kids, build schools, initiate lunch programs and bring hope to communities half a world away.
Proceeds from Run to Empower will be used to rebuild Bigodi Nursery and Primary School, which was decimated by a storm in November 2008. Reconstruction has already begun on the school, and the foundation for the first class room is in place.
The five-kilometer (3.1 mile) Run to Empower will start at noon at the Ping Recreation Center on Ohio University's Athens campus. Registration is $15, and runners are encouraged to preregister online at www.empowercampaign.org. All registered runners will receive a race T-shirt and will be entered in race-day raffles. Runners who register online also can get sponsors.