I was very anxious and excited to get Making Strides going and inviting my family, friends and classmates to participate with me. I wanted to get started right away! I had many ideas, from creating a website or a blog to share information, to creating team t-shirts to wear during the walk events. I finally decided a Facebook group page would be the best way for me to reach out to those I know. However, creating the walk teams and registering/setting goals were a little difficult. I had never done a fundraising walk event before and had no idea what our team goals should be. I was also overwhelmed when typing up instructions on how to register for each separate walk event. I wanted to make sure I did not make things overwhelming for anyone else so they wouldn’t turn away from my idea. After presenting all of the information to my friends and family, I was content, and knew that I would have to be patient for people to start signing up.
After researching, I found two walks within the time frame of UCF’s spring semester that Making Strides would be able to participate in. The first walk would be to benefit the National MS Society, and the second would be to benefit the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida. The Walk for Multiple Sclerosis was held at Lake Eola in Orlando, Florida. The walk was around the entire lake and then back through some nearby neighborhoods. This walk was a total of 3 miles. The walk for Epilepsy was held at New Smyrna Beach, Florida, and the walk was entirely on the sand of the beach! It was a beautiful 3.5 mile walk.
For the Walk MS event, our Making Strides group raised $120. Overall, the entire event raised $107,426.64! Although they fell a little short of the goal for this year, they still raised an incredible amount of money for the National MS Society. The Epilepsy Foundation of Florida proudly raised $5,425 with the help of several walkers and sponsors. The Making Strides group raised $100 for this event. Overall, Making Strides contributed over $200 to foundations for disabilities! What an accomplishment this is for me especially, knowing that putting in time and effort can really make a difference. I know our money that was donated will greatly help the lives of others, and I am proud of our Making Strides team.
Within the past 6 months, I have been starting to run regularly. I love running and I see it as a wonderful way to spend time outdoors. It is also a healthy hobby! I have never participated in a walking event before, but knew that with my love of being outdoors I had to find a way to make this idea work. Luckily one day, I was listening to a local radio station and heard the MS walk being advertised. As soon as I got home I immediately went to the event website and got my idea approved by professors. Before I started the facebook page for making strides, I confided in my mom and sister and asked them what they thought, and if they would participate in the walks with me. It meant so much for my mom and my sister to support me. My family is my main source of inspiration and I knew I could count on them, even if noone else chose to participate.
The Making Strides group was started because of a simple idea in my head. I put my love for being outdoors and being active as a great way that I could start a team to help a great cause. I confided in my mom and sister, and knew that with their support I would be able to have a team, with atleast us 3 members! I created a facebook page and came up with the name Making Strides for our group. I researched walking events for disabilities that would be relatively local to the area and registered our team for two events, Walk MS and Walk the Talk for Epilepsy. In registering our teams for the events, I also registered myself as the team captain for each. Once I figured out how to register, I put up directions on our facebook page. These directions were step by step and included links to follow. The instructions were very user friendly! I sent out emails and put out fliers around my town for people to join our team and help us raise money for a great cause. By the time the walking events came around, I contacted all team members and created a meeting spot and time for the event days.
Once at the event, I signed in our team and made sure that all of our money had been turned in. For the Walk MS event, our team had 10 members! The team consisted of myself, my mom, dad, sister, grandmother, aunt, and 3 other girls from our EEX4070 class. One of the girls also brought along her boyfriend, and my aunt also brought along my baby cousin in his stroller (so technically, 11 team members!) The Walk the Talk for Epilepsy was a little more complicated. Our team had a total of 8 members, but we all did not walk together. The event ended up starting earlier than scheduled, which caused some members to be late. However, we all walked the distance and finished the 3.5 miles strong. I walked with my mom and good friend that day. My sister was supposed to walk also, but had sprained her ankle earlier in the week. Overall, both walks were a great success, even for our small team.
Overall, I put in a total of 16 hours for this project. Many of these hours were late nights brainstorming, creating the team page, creating additional pages for instructions, and also contacting representatives from both foundations. The events combined were a total of 10 hours, including check-in, pre walk exercises, the walks themselves, and fun activities the foundations had going on afterwards. For the MS walk, Making strides consisted of 10 team members, ranging in age from 19 to 72. For the Walk the Talk for Epilepsy, Making Strides consisted of 8 team members, ranging in age from 16 to 44. However, the age ranges for all of the people at the events were great in difference. There were young children walking, along with many seniors. It was great to see people of all ages coming together to support a good cause. For the MS walk, Making strides walked with people who had Multiple Sclerosis. For the Walk the Talk for Epilepsy, we walked with people who had epilepsy. This walk was very inspiring because if a person’s body had been affected by epilepsy, they were given a purple shirt to wear. We were in awe and so inspired by the amount of people who walked that day!
Overall, this has been an experience that will be irreplaceable forever in my life. My family members are already talking about finding other walks in our area that we can all participate in together. My grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, so we are planning on doing the Susan G. Komen walk for the cure walk in October. This experience also taught me a lot about leadership. I am always willing to take initiative, but if there are others willing to lead, I usually step back and follow in their footsteps. This experience allowed me to take control and create many opportunities for people to walk with our team. During the walks, I had many conversations with people who have disabilities or someone who’s life has been affected by a certain disability. These people were so inspiring to me and made me want to go the distance and do more for my community. I also have a new appreciation for people’s abilities instead of disabilities. This will benefit me SO MUCH in the classroom. I will be able to determine a student’s abilities, and be able to give them the opportunities needed to succeed in their education.
Making Strides Emilee Berryhill [email_address] April 23, 2010 EEX 4070
Early Perceptions <ul><li>Anxious/excited </li></ul><ul><li>Many ideas </li></ul><ul><li>Overwhelmed </li></ul><ul><li>Content </li></ul>
The Settings Lake Eola at Thornton Park, Orlando, Florida New Smyrna Beach, Florida
Demographics Walk the Talk for Epilepsy Making Strides: Fundraising Goal: $100 Funds Raised: $100, yes!!! Team Members: 8 Total Event: Funds Raised: $5,425 Walk MS Making Strides: Fundraising Goal: $100 Funds Raised: $120, awesome! Team Members: 10 Total Event: Fundraising Goal: $117,000 Funds Raised: $107,426.64