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R4Kenya: Running for a cause

What started out as a simple desire to incorporate the love of running with a mission to help ultimately developed into a dedicated group of runners who share a common purpose: to Run 4 Kenya.

The story begins with Eastern  alum Michael Wilson who, during his sophomore year at the university, thought up the club after hearing about a friend’s recent travel to an area outside of Nairobi, Kenya. The discussion is what ultimately “sparked the idea,” Wilson said.

In time, R4Kenya became an official Eastern  club and a student service organization on campus.

R4Kenya’s primary mission is to raise awareness and funds for those living in need in Kenya, particularly orphans and refugees. The Eastern club works directly with Word Ablaze Ministries, an organization committed to serving the poor. For Wilson, Word Ablaze Ministries proved to be the perfect organization to receive the funds raised by R4Kenya. “I wanted to make sure it was going to go to a good cause,” Wilson said.

Although Wilson recently graduated from Eastern in May, he still remains dedicated to R4Kenya. He now works in the Admissions Office at Eastern and also coaches the Cross Country team.

Currently at the forefront of R4Kenya are senior Paul Charles and junior Jonathan Holbert. Both Charles and Holbert consistently come up with new initiatives to increase the awareness and funds raised by R4Kenya. When asked what his favorite part about being involved with R4Kenya is, Charles accredited the unity within the club.

“It’s nice to be able to be a part of something slightly bigger with a lot of other people,” Charles said.

R4Kenya’s most promising opportunity to raise money and awareness comes from running in the yearly Philadelphia Marathon. In order to raise funds, the club members are privately sponsored by others who support their goal to help. The marathon will take place on Nov. 21.

“It’s a lot of preparation,” Holbert said.

However, he also encourages others to become involved. “Anyone can do it,” he said.

When asked about the future hopes for R4Kenya, Wilson expressed his desire to continue building a strong relationship with World Ablaze Ministries and possibly one day having R4Kenya reach Non-government organization status.

In addition to preparing for the upcoming Philadelphia Marathon, the members of R4Kenya are avidly committed to their overall mission. Being able to help others through their love of running reflects R4Kenya’s commitment to change the world, and every mile they run makes a difference in someone’s life.

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