EngagePerspectivesStudent Runs 6K for 30 Consecutive Days, Raising Funds for Clean Water
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Student Runs 6K for 30 Consecutive Days, Raising Funds for Clean Water

SNF Paideia Fellow Derek Nhieu is not a runner by choice but he was willing to put on his sneakers and spend an hour a day on the treadmill to participate in the 6K Challenge for the WASH Project. The WASH Project is an initiative for clean water, sanitation, and hygiene in underdeveloped countries. Circle K International and UNICEF are its partner organizations. Women and children in underdeveloped countries walk around 3.75 miles a day on average to get water for themselves and their families. That’s why the challenge is to run a 6K (3.72 miles) for every day of one month.

WASH graphic

Circle K International (CKI) is the world’s largest collegiate student led service organization and has been spearheading the WASH Project for the past five years. Derek is serving as the 2020-2021 District Governor for the Pennsylvania District of Circle K International. He chose to challenge the members of his District to fundraise for the WASH Project as part of his term. Derek has been very successful at reaching his daily fundraising goal, starting with $1 on September 1 and increasing a dollar per day for 30 consecutive days.

While Derek is familiar with service-oriented work and coming together with others to support a cause, he was nervous about reaching his goal and a bit uncomfortable asking other people for donations. His total goal for the month was to raise $500, a target he hit within the first week. He was surprised how willing people were to donate, both big and small amounts, each contribution making an impact. He raised a total of $1,055 by the end of the month, double his initial goal. The donations he collected for the WASH project will provide clean water and sanitation for people in Haiti.

Although Derek is not a runner and found the challenge to be very demanding physically, he has found the experience to be very humbling.

I have it easy, running 6K every day, I am indoors, I don’t have to carry 50 pounds of water with me. I’m a very grateful person in general but I can’t imagine doing this with water on my back and without adequate footwear. But that’s people’s realities in underdeveloped countries.

Thinking about the people for whom he was running helped keep him motivated. His community of supporters also made the experience more enjoyable. Friends who weren’t able to donate money would run a 6K for moral support and Derek actively posted a daily photo with his distance and time on social media.

Now that running has become a daily habit, Derek would like to continue his effort to raise money for WASH, possibly running a longer campaign. Regardless what Derek decides to do on the treadmill, it is clear he is motivated by being part of a community oriented towards service for those less fortunate than himself.

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