On Saturday, Oak-Lawn Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St. in Oak Lawn hosted its annual 6K walk/run for World Vision. (Supplied photos)

On Saturday, Oak-Lawn Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St. in Oak Lawn hosted its annual 6K walk/run for World Vision. (Supplied photos)

OLHMS students walk for children in Africa

By Kelly White

Oak Lawn-Hometown Middle School students got moving for a good cause this past weekend.

On Saturday, September 18, Oak-Lawn Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St. in Oak Lawn, once again hosted its annual 6K walk/run for World Vision.

“I like seeing my students and colleagues participating in this friendly, and sometimes, competitive race or just walking with friends,” Kathy Ogean, a seventh-grade math teacher, said. “It’s great seeing everyone united around one worthy cause.”

The 6k raises funds for World Vision which sponsors clean water projects and education for the children of Africa. During the event, students, staff, families and community members either walked or ran 6k to represent the average distance young girls in Africa must walk to retrieve dirty, contaminated water for their families.

reporter school 6k3 2021

On Saturday, Oak-Lawn Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St. in Oak Lawn hosted its annual 6K walk/run for World Vision.

“At this event, children of all ages see how they can make a global impact,” Heather McCarthy, media Specialist at OLHMS, said. “They can see how coming together as a local community can change global communities.”

McCarthy and a fellow OLHMS co-worker, Kate Ryan, traveled to Rwanda together in 2015. During their trip, they were able to witness first-hand how their fundraising directly helps the children of Africa.

“We witnessed pipelines bringing fresh clean water to thousands of people, hygiene projects, and educational initiatives all being supported through World Vision,” McCarthy said.

Inspired, she decided to connect the school’s annual 6k and World Vision and this year marked the school’s fifth annual Walk for Clean Water with World Vision.

Students read Linda Sue Park’s novel “A Long Walk to Water.” In the novel, a young girl from South Sudan must walk multiple miles every day, two times a day, to collect dirty contaminated water for her family.

“We are able to bring this book to life, make real world connections, and work towards our community service goals by having students experience what it is like to walk the same distance the average girl in Africa must walk,” McCarthy said.

For the 6k, each student raised a minimum of $20 to participate. Their $20 donation got them a World Vision T-shirt, race bib with the picture of a child from Africa they are supporting, and a finisher’s medal.

On average, the school has around 200 participants and raises between $5,000 and $7,000. This year was no different, and staff members said to be grateful to be a part of such a wonderful project.

“This event fills me with pride,” Kate Ryan, global studies teacher at OLHMS, said. “Everyone from staff, students, community members, alumni, and more, come together to support a global cause- bringing clean water to the people who need it most. A few years ago, I was fortunate to travel to Rwanda with World Vision to see first-hand the work they do to help people. As a teacher, I can share my experiences with my students and I am so proud when they show up to walk/run 6k- the average distance a child has to walk for water. This annual Oak Lawn community event is fun for the whole family.”

“The World Vision 6K race has always been an event I’ve enjoyed,” Andrew Weber, a social studies teacher at OLHMS, said. “A lot of hard work goes into organizing and I’m proud to work with a group of people who make the day a success for such a great cause.”

reporter school 6k2 2021

On Saturday, Oak-Lawn Hometown Middle School, 5345 W. 99th St. in Oak Lawn hosted its annual 6K walk/run for World Vision.

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