Code together. Run together. Develop Together.
By: Shreya Balusu
The energy was undeniable. As I walked into our tent for the first time in the morning, I couldn’t help but feel excited and energized; It was clear that everyone else felt the same. As we continued to set up our booth, it became clear early on that we stood out from everyone else. Why? Because we teens and we really were a team. We made most of our own posters together, and we even put up a poster that was made by some of the kids from our Village Square Branch.
As our runners arrived at our the booth we painted their faces yellow to unify. We loudly cheered all the runners on during warm up because they came out to support such amazing causes. Our team had about 65 runners, the sixth highest, and we were the first out of all the new-coming teams in Sevathon. But it’s more than just the numbers. Our families, friends, neighbors, and other people, who did not know us personally but were interested in our mission, had registered to run and support our cause. Some of our volunteers led our runners in warm up exercises and others led them on the track during the 5k and 10k.
Throughout the day, we had an awesome time participating in the dance-a-thon, handing out over 400 otter pops to people who visited our booth, and talking to many interesting people who were interested in mentoring our team or supporting our cause. We got to take pictures with people like Ash Kalra, a California assemblymember; college students who have now become our mentors; and Sharkie, the mascot of the San Jose Sharks.
It was so beautiful to see so many people running for something they felt really passionate about. Grateful was a word that came to my mind many times throughout the day. Grateful, because I felt so blessed to be part of a community that cares for one another. Grateful, because I realized that I was given the opportunity to help over 150 kids think with a completely different mindset. Grateful, because I had met so many people that want to see kids grow just like I do.
One thing is for sure: I learned that nothing can beat the power of community. It was so powerful to see strength in numbers, to see people rallying for so many different causes. Don’t be afraid so speak up and stand up for something that you hold close to your heart. After all there will always be a community to support you every step of the way, just like ours has supported us.