Many thanks to those of you who have already given to Ellie's Run. This offer is good through noon on Saturday, 5/21. Seven years ago a ten-year-old girl named Ellie, a family friend of ours, saw some pictures of an urban slum somewhere in Africa and was deeply moved. I don't know if it was the first time she had seen images of real poverty, but it was definitely the first time the images had ever had an impact on her. She wanted to do something about it. Her parents were wise enough to honor their daughter's softness of heart and seize the opportunity. They started organizing a 5K race and fundraiser they call Ellie's Run for Africa. The motto of Ellie's Run is "Dream Big. Take Action"; a little girl's big dreams have grown into something good. Through the years the event has raised over a quarter of a million dollars for schools and orphanages in the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya--home to a million souls, but not one government school.
The bigger story, of course, is not what is happening at Ellie's Run, but what is happening in Nairobi. Yesterday I met Irene Tongoi, a Kenyan woman who runs New Dawn Educational Center in an impoverished village on the outskirts of Nairobi. She's a delightful and gospel-soaked woman with her own big dreams for the poor of her city. Her school makes a secondary education possible for young people who otherwise have no real prospects for getting out of the slum and breaking the cycle of poverty and violence and drugs.
Ellie's Run is this Saturday, May 21. If you live in Middle Tennessee, I hope you'll come. It's a lot of fun. If you can't come, you can be give to Ellie's Run (and, more to the point, New Dawn Educational Center) anyway. I'll make you a deal: if you give $25 to Ellie's Run--$25 being the the fee that a parent in Nairobi would pay to send a child to school for a term--I'll send you one of my books. I know there are cheaper ways to get my books...this is a 'premium' like they have on the Public Television fund-raisers.
Just go to www.elliesrun.org, check things out, and if it looks like something you're interested in helping with, click the 'Donate Now' button on the right. Include my name in the comments section, please.
Once you've given, get in touch through the "Contact Me" form on the right and tell me which book you'd like me to send you, and the mailing address I should send it to. Your choices are:
- The Bark of the Bog Owl
- The Secret of the Swamp King
- The Charlatan's Boy
- The World According to Narnia
- Saint Patrick
I know you've got a lot of people clamoring for your charitable donations, but if you've got margin in your budget, this is a good place to give.
This short movie gives a nice overview of Ellie's Run: