The Pitch

Running, Building, Helping: Charity Clubs at WJ

Courtesy of Evelyn Kendrix and Adam Cohen

Christine Bersabal & Grace Leslau, Online Feature Co-Editors & Print Assistant Feature Co-Editors

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Run for a Cause: Doing sports and doing good

Run for a Cause is a club that combines athletics with charity. The club was started this year by sophomores Evelyn Kendrix, Hannah Griffin, Katie McGill and Itai Bezerhano and seeks to raise money for charity by running. This year the club will primarily raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project. The Wounded Warriors Project provides aid for soldiers nationwide wounded in combat and their families through support systems, financial aid and public endorsement.

“I think the whole idea of being athletic and giving back makes us unique,” said Kendrix.

Kendrix, McGill and Bezerhano are on the cross country team and were inspired to contribute to the Wounded Warrior Project when they met a former runner who was hurt in combat and had powered through his injury.  Additionally, many of the club members have family in the military, bringing the cause closer to their hearts.

Since the club is very new, it is still figuring out its options in terms of charities and runs. The run planned for this year will most likely be a 5K.

“This year we want to be able to raise enough money to do one run at the end of the year,” said Griffin.

As the club grows in membership, they plan to add additional runs and causes in the coming year. While this year the officers elected to focus on a single cause, in coming years they plan to select several additional charities to contribute to. At their bi-weekly Tuesday meetings, members discuss fundraising options and plan runs. This year the officers also plan to sell T-shirts to raise money for the Wounded Warriors Project.

While the club is gaining momentum, the club is finding recruiting new members difficult.

“People don’t like to run, but the promise of doing good and getting in shape can overcome this,” said Griffin.

The club officers, all athletes, felt that they could make a significant contribution by doing something they love. The club officers felt that providing opportunities for other students to donate to a charitable cause that helps others while benefiting their own health and participating in a fun activity was a simple way to follow their passion for sports.

Habitat for Humanity: Helping build homes in the community

The Habitat for Humanity club, in association with the international nonprofit organization, helps provide houses to Montgomery County residents in need. After a temporary hiatus, the 25 members this year meet every Monday at lunch in room 111 to plan and discuss future fundraisers and events.

The president of the club, senior Samih Karama, has been a part of the Habitat for Humanity organization since middle school. Once he acheived the position as president this year, he was excited to see that his fellow officers, juniors Sydney Litts and Elena Kindy and senior Adam Cohen, all shared a common goal of getting as much of the WJ community involved to help give back to society. Though the officers all have different names for their positions, Karama says they equally rely on each other. Cohen, treasurer of the club, had previously been a dedicated member as well.

“Being a long-standing member of Habitat for Humanity, I was shocked to learn that no one restarted the club this year,” said Cohen. “My friend, [Karama], and I decided to team up with a couple of juniors to restore the forgotten club.”

The club has raised $280 from their first fundraiser, exceeding expectations although Cohen says their aspirations are limitless. Currently, the club is working on holding dances and movie nights to increase their donation money. The idea of selling pizza during lunch has also been discussed.

“Fundraisers, such as bake sales, are not that easy to setup,” said Cohen. “We had to do a number of things just so we can reserve our spot at [Georgetown Square]. Furthermore, we had to make sure everyone was going to bring something which was stressful.”

Karama also says the biggest struggle for the club is booking places to volunteer. Despite the numerous forms needed for safety, he says there is not a lot to complain about.

Aside from fundraisers, the club spends several hours volunteering at a Habitat for Humanity Restore Center in Gaithersburg. The club started in volunteering in December and has reserved more hours for each month through February. Cohen is always surprised at the magnitude of passion within the members.

“For me, the best thing about Habitat for Humanity is seeing how involved, determined and helpful our club members are,” he said. “Being a part of the leadership of the club has really showed me how much WJ and its students cared about the community.”

Karama is also humbled by the club’s efforts.

“[The] primary goal is to give back to society, help the poor and to always remember that we need to be thankful, and remember those in need,” he said.

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Running, Building, Helping: Charity Clubs at WJ