Anyone who works with young people knows that building something worthwhile involves preparation, planning and time – it is often a marathon rather than a sprint. It was in this spirit and in a new fundraising effort that teams from Living Youth, the Down and Connor Youth Commission took to the streets of Belfast to join the thousands of others taking part in the Belfast Marathon on Monday May 6th.
Last year members of the Living Youth Executive Committee took part for the first time raising money for Lifeline, Northern Ireland’s crisis response helpline and helped reach a total of more than £9000. It had been such a rewarding and enjoyable experience that Director of Youth Ministry Pauline Dowd was eager to be involved again.
“Marathon day in Belfast brings out the best in people in so many ways”, said Pauline. “For the vast majority of people it is not about a race or even a finishing time. Most of us have something dear to our heart that we want to raise money for. Last year I was struck by the volume of ordinary people who walked, ran or jogged over the finishing line perhaps wearing a T-shirt with the face of the person they wanted to help or the logo of the charity they cared about. It was simply inspiring. It is the kind of event that attracts our young people – something selfless and decent that gives them the chance to do their bit.”
This year, the aim was to raise funds for Living Youth’s Habitat for Humanity project in Ethiopia in the summer of 2013 and to help bring young people to Scotland to celebrate World Youth Day in July 2013.
A total of 22 runners and walkers took part and special thanks must go to Bishop Donal McKeown of Down and Connor who led the Living Youth relay team.