U.S. youth walk to support sponsored friends
November 23, 2009
Youth were invited to walk on
treadmills at the CFCA booth at the
National Catholic Youth Conference.
Hundreds of high school students attending the National Catholic Youth Conference in Kansas City, Mo., Nov. 19-23, walked for miles on treadmills to raise money so that several CFCA youth can finish high school.
“I think it’s a really good idea,” Bela Megalhaes of Davenport, Iowa, said after walking. “So many people don’t have the privileges we have.”
For every minute walked, CFCA contributed $1 to the youth’s education. A total of $2,156 was raised to help six students, students such as Mae, a 15-year-old from the Philippines who wants to study hotel and restaurant management, and Rosmely, a 17-year-old from Guatemala who loves singing, dancing and reading.
Students walked on the treadmill and viewed a four-minute video of Sami Freese, a 17-year-old from Broomfield, Colo., who has sponsored a girl in the Philippines for nine years. Afterward, walkers entered their names on paper footprints representing the person they walked for. CFCA will name one walker to correspond with each sponsored youth.
Mark Zimmerman of London, Ohio, filled out his paper footprint for Jose, 16, from Mexico.
“He wants to be a veterinarian, and I like animals," Zimmerman said.
Some students were invited to walk by CFCA staff at the booth.
“I wondered why they were walking,” Dylan Mumbach of Beaumont, Texas, said. Once he saw the video, he was sold. “It’s a good way to help get the kids through school. Everyone deserves a chance.”
Others students sought out CFCA’s booth after hearing Freese’s keynote speech at the general session Saturday morning. Her address was broadcast to the 21,000 high school youth from across the U.S., Japan, Guam and Puerto Rico attending this year’s conference.
“I heard her speak and I wanted to do something,” Allison Finkes, 15, of Sacramento, Calif., said. “I have a life where I can get all the material things I want but don’t need. All they want is to go to school.”
Besides walking on the treadmill, visitors to the CFCA booth learned about sponsorship and reviewed family profiles of youth waiting to be sponsored. Fifty youth in need of help were sponsored during the conference, many by students and adult leaders who were inspired by Freese’s speech.
Freese was one of five keynote speakers selected to give faith testimonials at Saturday’s general session, the last of the conference. The session was intended to motivate and inspire students, said Larry Livingston, who represents CFCA on the youth events management committee of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministries.
“Typically, you get pumped up at these events,” Livingston said. “Saturday’s session was intended to help students take what they learned and put it into action.”