Grab your glow-paint and join Athena Davis’ Holocaust Literature class for a Run For Cover 5K Friday night in support of the local nonprofit People for Care and Learning.
Cleveland High School students Megan Byrd, Meredith Markiewicz, Shayna Chilling and Abigail Louderback teamed up to plan the 5K as part of a class project.
“We thought it would be beneficial as a memorialization project of the Holocaust,” Markiewicz said. “Instead of overviewing the plight of people ... we try to help the people who have been hurt by their government.”
Registrations starts an hour before the 7 p.m. run time at Cleveland High’s track. The cost is $30 for adults and children. The race will start at Cleveland High’s track at 7 p.m. Runners will follow the Greenway toward Tinsley Park. Signs will inform participants when to turn around.
Chilling assured participants may run, jog or walk the 5K.
The students urged the community to have fun with the run. Every participant will receive a glow stick. Additional paraphernalia, from glowing clothes to glow necklaces, are allowed and encouraged.
Money raised through the glow run participation fees and sponsorships will go toward PCL’s Build a City project. The goal is to inspire hope and provide a hand up with the construction of a new city in Khan Dang Kao, Cambodia. According to the nonprofit’s website, the city is home to hundreds of families living in extreme poverty.
PCL’s Build a City website urges readers to imagine losing everything.
“... Your home, your job and your livelihood. You are forcibly relocated to an empty field outside the city, left to fend for yourself with no shelter or electricity,” the website reads. “There are no hospitals or schools, no trash collection or even drainage pipes. ... The dreams of jobs and small businesses float away, as the cost of commuting 15 miles to a job in the city amounts to more than a day’s wages.”
Markiewicz said most people have not heard about the issues faced by most Cambodians.
Those who she has told about the project and 5K glow run have been receptive to the message.
She hopes area residents are ready to enact change.
“I am Polish. I did study the Holocaust a bit before I took the Holocaust Lit class. You see the things that happened to all of the people there and you have to think, ‘Why would people let this happen?’” Markiewicz said. “... It is still happening in other countries. Why aren’t you doing anything to help?”
Students in Davis’ literature class and Melissa Adams’ sports marketing class raised $2,000 last year through the Run for Cover 5K. The money allowed PCL to build two houses in Khan Dang Kao. The group hopes to make at least that much this year.
Davis explained the girls are relying on runner fees to meet the goal. Adams’ class took care of sponsorships last year, but this year the two class times did not match up. However, several sponsors, Don Ledford Automotive, attorney Jerry Hoffer and For Such a Time Creations, stepped up to the plate.
Donations have also been provided by Cheezies Pizza, Panera, O’Charley’s, Bi-Lo and Food Lion.
Davis said the only way Build a City will be successful is with support.
“I think sometimes Americans are really cynical about giving, because we have a sense of people trying to ‘take advantage of us,’” Davis said. “That is the beauty of what they are doing over there. Every penny you send, you can be certain it is not only changing someone’s life, but enabling them to continue that life change forever, which is going to change it for future generations.”
Added Byrd, “It is all about how it could happen to you. Why not go over there and help them or give money to help them?”