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Run for Congo Women: Big Things Begin with Small Steps

The Run for Congo Women has been working to raise awareness and funds in the U.S. and abroad to support Congolese women. As you already know if you read the Sama Gazette, we support the Women for Women campaign and we posted about the Run for Congo Women in San Francisco.

Among the runners in San Francisco on June 12, 2010 was Carissa Weir from Oakland, California. A former actress and now a ‘filmmaker in the making’ according to her short bio on her Twitter, Carissa founded Cacao Films in 2006. The creative and committed mother of two shares with us her race experience, she explains her motivation and how big things begin with small steps.

Big Things Begin with Small Steps

Last year, after many attempts to get in shape and stay in shape, I decided that I needed a more meaningful goal than just looking good. I also wanted to do more humanitarian work through raising funds and through the ever valuable, time, but I was always too busy. Time was no longer an issue because I lost my job due to the current economic climate. My 35th birthday was around the corner and I felt growth taking place, something was happening to me, I was finally ready to let go of  baggage I’d been carrying for so many years and was also ready to become the woman I always wanted to be.

That woman just happened to be Oprah Winfrey. While at home during the days, I would watch the show and caught the episode with the authors of “Half the Sky” and Zainab Salbi of Women for Women International.  I was moved by the stories and saddened by the statistics.  I couldn’t just sit there. As a single mother of two boys and a micro business owner, I can relate to women and mothers all over the world.  I had an epiphany. Why not participate in running events while raising funds for people in need? That’s exactly what I did.

I participated in my first 5k in March and survived it.  I worked out for the next race in June and survived that one too. I was on a roll.  A week before my second race, I received an email about the Giant Race in San Francisco from Women for Women. Even though it was a week after my second race, I had to run for team Congo. I put together my fundraising page and began asking friends and family for money.  The response was slow to begin with due to the current economic climate but a few supporters of my “save the world” efforts came through with donations and helped me surpass my goal. 

As for my training I did nothing special, as a matter of fact, I did the opposite.  I rested. The day of the race started off stressful, my sons did not want to get out of bed on a Saturday at such an ungodly hour.  I tried explain it was for a good cause but they didn’t seem to care. They eventually got up and we journeyed across the Bay Bridge into San Francisco to Giants Stadium only to get stuck in traffic at the parking lot.  There were thousands of runners for this inaugural event.  It took so long (45 minutes) to get settled that I parked and headed straight to the start, missing the Run for Congo team photo (next time). The race began and I ended up running my worse time of my three races so far. Bummer! Not really…I was still recovering from my previous race and I did raise money for a good cause.  I enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with my family at the carnival and left the park smiling with a brand new determination. After being out run by children and pregnant women in my last three races, it was time to get serious. I now have new and better running shoes and a training plan…watch out!

As Vincent Van Gogh once said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together”.  This was the beginning in my series.

If like Carissa, you want to share with the readers of the Sama Gazette your experience concerning Run for Congo Women or about any other charity event you organize or participate, you can contact us. Contributions and Op-Ed submissions are always welcome, the Sama Gazette being about sharing experiences and point of views!

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