The spring 2012 Global Citizenship students spent their weekend participating in the 3rd Annual Miles for Smiles Family Fun Event. This annual event was held at Meadowbrook Park, home to hula dancers, face painters, Rosie the horse, a bounce house, a Creative Movement Class, a fire truck, a DARE police vehicle, fantastic food, a 5K run, 3 mile walk, and tons of children’s activities. In addition to volunteering at the event, students played an active role in planning the event. Students utilized their unique connections tosecure monetary and arts and crafts donations, secure vendors, and to market the event.
The proceeds from the Miles for Smiles Family Fun Event fund Riah’s Rainbow, a non-profit organization formed in memory of Mariah Jean Klein, a four year-old who lost her sixteen month battle with a rare cancerousbrain tumor. This cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG) primarily affects children and is considered terminal. Due to the nature of the tumor Mariah was not able to talk or walk, and found comfort and solitude in arts and crafts activities. The ultimate goal of Riah’s Rainbow is to bring smiles to the faces of children in long or short term stays in local hospitals through donations of art supplies. In the future Riah’s Rainbow would like to provide parents with resources to take their children out for a day of adventure.
Students were able to identify a need in the community and explore the importance of the community and responsibilities as a global citizen. Instructor Ashley Scott reports, “Students who participated in this event not only learned a lot about helping others but gained a wealth of knowledge about themselves. The event was emotional for some students and overall an amazing experience.” Many students are looking forward to participating in next year’s event.