Runners lapped campus in a charity race Sunday to raise money for Coins for Change, a charity organization that benefits poor and underserved families in Africa.
For every $50 raised at the “Running with the Goats” 5K, the charity will purchase a goat to give to one family of the Maasai tribe in Kenya.
“One goat completely changes a family’s economic standpoint,” said Kara Wendling, one of the event organizers. “It can produce milk for the family, as well as offspring for the family to raise or sell.”
Wendling and Naomi Valentine, both resident assistants and members of Enactus, organized the 5k as an RA event with help from Enactus members of the running club, who assisted with timing the race.
“When we put on the event, we were just hoping to get a couple people to come out, a lot of times RA events are not well attended,” said Wendling, a junior majoring in management and entrepreneurship.
Enactus, formerly called Students in Free Enterprise, is a student group aimed at developing entrepreneurial skills for philanthropy.
Wendling said she introduced Enactus to Coins for Change.
“I have a little sister whose teacher was the founder of Coins for Change,” Wendling said. “Enactus was looking for another project and I just brought it to Binghamton.”
Enactus member Annie Eng, a freshman majoring in finance, said Enactus has built a good rapport with the charity.
“Coins for Change is really big globally, and we have a good relationship with the organization, but its important for people here to become aware,” Eng said.
Wendling said she began planning the event in August, and she chose Family Weekend to hold it in order to get parents and families involved.
Dick Young and his son Richard, a freshman majoring in engineering, crossed the finish line together in first place.
“I’ve always been a runner, but my son never was,” Young said. “But he found out about this race happening during parents’ weekend, and two weeks into the semester I get a phone call and he tells me — we’re running. The next step is to get this guy to run a marathon.”
Dick Young added that he and his family had recently traveled to Kenya.
“In the summer of 2010, our family went on a mission trip to Kenya through our church,” he said. “There would be a guard with a machete outside our house, and at night, he would sing as we fell asleep.”
The 5k raised enough money through runners’ and community members’ donations to purchase six goats for families in the Maasai tribe, exceeding Wendling’s expectations. She plans to hold other events to raise money for Maasai families in the near future.
“We’re starting the Holiday Give-a-Goat project,” she said. “If people want to buy a goat for a family, they get an adoption certificate letter and some kind of Maasai Tribe item sent to them.”