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Kellie SpannApril 18, 2012 Senior Project Speech On any given night in the United States, over 250,000 veterans define the streetsas their home. My name is Kellie Spann and for my senior project I organized a 5K FunRun to raise money for homeless veterans. For my research paper, I researched the amount veterans who come home fromoversees to society’s neglect that leads them to become homeless. I was shocked to findout how much desertion and inattention our veterans are experiencing upon what shouldbe a welcoming homecoming; several of thousands of couples are divorced shortly afterthe return after a spouse’s first deployment, causing families to break up and loved oneswith no place to go but the streets. During the late 1970s and early 1980s, almost 80% ofhomeless men had at some time in their life put on an American uniform and served ourcountry in the Vietnam War. During my research, I discovered numerous sources thathave all claimed that currently 23% of America’s homeless population are male veterans,and 3% are female veterans, totaling up to over a quarter of America’s entire homelesspopulation. This number is continuing to rise every day, which motivated me topersonally reverse society’s normal tendency to disregard the brave men and women whorisk their lives for our country, and instead, I wanted to think of a way to raise money toget these troupers off the streets. Since I am an active runner, I came up with the idea to organize my own 5K race.My product is the actual race. I chose to do this for the sake of giving back to those whoput their lives on the line every day to ensure our freedom and liberty. First and foremost,
I planned my race. I picked out a date, time, and location for my race. I then proceeded tocall Creekland, the middle school across the street, to see if I had permission to use itstrails to host my race. Once I had permission, I typed up my registration forms with theappropriate information. I decided to make the registration $10 per person. In order tomake people want to come, however, I realized that I needed to offer a prize. Afterconsideration, I chose to award the top 5 female and the top 5 male finishers with free t-shirts. I designed my own t-shirts to reward the runners with. Following my design, Icalled Target to ask them to donate t-shirts to me. After giving the Target manager anofficial letter from the school, she approved and provided t-shirts for me. I took them to ascreen-printing shop several times due to electronic difficulties with my design. I orderedextra t-shirts for in-case scenarios. Then I picked them up about a week later when theywere ready. Then, I asked the manager of my local Publix to donate water for my race,for which I also had to provide an official letter from my school in order to get approval.Next, I started to plan the set-up of my race. I decided to use bright orange spray paint topaint arrows in the trails so that the runners would know where to go during the race, andI decided to use wooden stakes and rope to guide them during the part of the race thatwas out of the woods. I went to Home Depot to buy these supplies. After buying thesesupplies, it was time to start raising awareness of my race. I started asking friends tocome; I created a Facebook event advertising my race and providing detailed informationabout it. I spoke to every J.R.O.T.C. class here at Creekview and handed out myregistration forms. I also left a donations jar in the main J.R.O.T.C. room. The biggestproblem that I encountered during this project occurred on race day; bad weather camedue the day of my race, and it was unfortunately very rainy and stormy. For safety
purposes, I told everyone who showed up to go home after giving them t-shirts. Mysister and my best friend stayed to run the whole thing, so most of these pictures are ofthem. Even though I made everyone go home, I still raised money by selling the t-shirtsand accepting donations. Overall, I ended up raising $109.31, which I donated to theVeteran Support Organization (VSO). My project facilitator was one of my cross-country coaches, Mr. Brown, who alsois a teacher here at Creekview. I chose him because I know him very well, and becausehe is very familiar with organizing races for cross-country. However, I took charge in thisproject and did the most part of it by myself. He helped me when I had questions, but Idid not have many. I faced many challenges while producing my race. I had issues with several datesand times at certain locations before I figured out when and where I would actually hostmy race. I also ended up having to change my original race date more than once due topersonal events, such as soccer tournaments and family occurrences. I also had to bring inmy t-shirt design several times to the screen-printing shop due to lack of a professionaldesign-making program. The day of my race was also a problem I encountered. Due toweather, it did not turn out to be as busy as I had hoped, which is why I sold my extra t-shirts that I had. Throughout this whole process, I recognized that organizing big events is notsomething I would still want to pursue. However, I am glad I was able to raise money togive to an organization that I know is helping get veterans off the streets every day, and Iwill still continue to donate any extra money I have in the future to that organization. Arethere any questions? I want to thank you for volunteering your time.