- 5K Run/Walk to Uganda, Sunday, May 27, at 9: 30 a.m. at Cates Park, North Vancouver, in support of the Atin Afrika Foundation. Register at Forerunners, 980 Marine Dr., North Vancouver or at the site on race day. Registration: $25 by May 18 and $30 thereafter (T-shirt included). Children 12 and under: $15 (T-shirt included). Info: www.atinafrika.org.
COMMUNITY members are encouraged to lace up for an upcoming five-kilometre fun run and walk in support of Ugandan children in need.
The 5K Run/Walk to Uganda is set for Sunday, May 27 at Cates Park in North Vancouver. Funds raised will support the Atin Afrika Foundation, a nonprofit co-founded by North Shore native Chelsea Peters, nearing its one-year anniversary.
"Our mission is to provide foster care for orphans and vulnerable children living on the streets in northern Uganda and give these children access to education, psycho-social support and counselling," says Peters, 31. "We offer children transitional care and then resettle them in their home communities where they can become positive members of their society."
What sets Atin Afrika apart from some other organizations is its focus on transitional care and resettlement.
"These children belong to their families and they belong to their communities," says Peters. "We believe that they can be future leaders of their families, tribes and villages. Why deny them their cultural identity? Instead of keeping them at an orphanage, we seek to empower them with a strong sense of self and the desire to do the best that they can. They return to the villages when they are ready and with a passion for education and new dreams for the future. This also enables us to have a far greater impact and reach more children and more families."
In the last year, the society has helped approximately 50 orphans and vulnerable children in Lira. Representatives plan to continue to grow and support as many children as possible. Initially housing five children at a time, they're currently serving up to 20. Next, they plan to expand their reach, offering support in their charges' home villages.
"We want to use a pay it forward model of giving to support the poorest families we work with. It is a hand up not a hand out," says Peters.
Peters encourages community members to participate in the upcoming run and walk, being sponsored by Forerunners, with support from Douglas College.
"The run is our first edition of what will hopefully become an annual tradition, with a run or walk through Cates Park on a beautiful Sunday morning," says Ken Greenaway, race director, and an employee at Forerunners North Vancouver. "It's a chance to get out and enjoy the park with your friends and family, to aid a great cause, and perhaps to reflect on how lucky we are here in Canada. The Atin Afrika Foundation has built a great program in Uganda and Forerunners is proud to be of help."
Registration is $25 prior to May 18 and $30 thereafter. "$25 pays school fees for a child in a government school for an entire term," says Peters.
"I challenge everyone to come and bring three friends along. Together, the four of you will pay for a street child to go back to school for a year," she adds.
Children served by Atin Afrika will be holding their own satellite run May 27 in appreciation of the event.
Those unable to attend the run and walk are encouraged to organize their own fundraiser for Atin Afrika.
"We are always looking for groups to connect with and share our stories. We welcome anyone and everyone to share their thoughts and ideas with us as well," says Peters.
For more information on the Atin Afrika Foundation, visit www.atinafrika.org.