A supporter of the American India Foundation in Chicago, Doctor Divya Singh-Behl shares the reflections of the “mothers” who supported the Junior AIF Board for the 5K run in September of 2018.
For the second year running, the Chicago Junior American India Foundation Board, supported closely by their “mothers”, families and communities, came together to mobilize funding, awareness and support for children’s education in India during AIF’s annual 5K Run. The event was a big success, raising a record total of $27,000!
The 5K Run was officially led by the members of the Chicago Junior American India Foundation Board for 2018 which were Anchal Kumar, Arjun Kaura, Maya Behl, Pranav Dordala, Arun Lal, and Aditya Badlani and closely supported by the “mothers” who were Shalini Kumar, Varsha Kaura, Divya Singh-Behl, Aditi Singru, Mona Lal, and Vandana Badlani respectively. The primary objectives of the event were to continue to promote the need for the next generation to “give back” to the less fortunate, increase youth participation within the organization, and raise funds for AIF. Building on last year’s successful event that was fueled by Ritu Jain’s excellent leadership and hard work, this year’s event had significant momentum. There was a strong spirit of teamwork for a cause “bigger than oneself”. A special thanks goes out to Varsha Kaura, who recruited the broad team and fostered the communal approach and to Anchal and Shalani Kumar who worked tirelessly in their efforts to make the event a success.
With the tangible premise of $50 educating one child in India for a year, the Junior AIF Board and their “mothers” were highly motivated to make the 5K run a big success. Inspired as they were, the board and their families were able to overcome significant roadblocks. Despite the high school kids’ rigorous academic course loads, and the extremely challenging schedules of the “mothers” – which often include balancing full-time careers with managing the household – the team was able to come together and do their best for the cause.
This year, event leadership incorporated new and innovative ideas into the 5K Fun Run to broaden the appeal and reach new audiences. The event was marketed as a “5K Cultural Run” and included a DJ, interactive yoga and Bollywood dance classes, backyard games, henna applications, ice cream truck, and free Indian food and drinks. Leadership also was mindful of keeping expenses low and managing logistics effectively to achieve the highest possible Return On Investment. Finally, the event was coordinated using a fun-loving and collaborative approach. The team felt the experience of the mothers and the board brought everyone closer as they bonded and worked together for the good of a cause bigger than themselves.
With over 150 participants ranging in age from toddlers to senior citizens, but with a heavy dose of young adult participants, this event was a step in the right direction for promoting AIF to the youth. By raising over $27K, the event will help over 540 kids in India get one year of education – meaning everyone’s diligence, hard work and strategy really paid off. Lastly, we are grateful that our teens have not only realized the importance of giving back early in life, but that they enthusiastically took the next step in making it a reality. We are grateful to all our friends, family, sponsors, vendors, and the AIF team in achieving this success.