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A Walk(athon) to Remember

When is a walk more than a mere exercise? When it brings us together as a community , when it contributes to the greater good , when it makes us laugh in joy and when it starts with a prayer . I know of one such walk that happened on April 13th which was the CORD Walkathon. CORD is the acronym for Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development .

This is a wonderful organization started by Gurudev , whose purpose is to facilitate integrated and sustainable development in rural India through self empowerment processes. CORD has a reach spanning about 700 villages in four states : Odisha, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. They do this through micro Banking and Self Help groups, Mahila Mandals, Literacy Drives , Health awareness Camps and much more.

The Team headed by our lead, started their work early scouting out the right location. Social Media team got busy publicizing the event . Website team facilitated registrations . T-shirt Team worked with JChyks to come up with tshirt design and send out the orders. A team was assembled to facilitate sponsorships . There were more groups related to food, parking, setup , water stations , music and dance, route marking and so much more.

Teams came in early on April 13th to Cauley Creek Park . There was a distinct chill in the air, but by now we know not to believe the weather. As it is said in Bhagavad Gita ‘When people come together in yagna spirit , even the forces of nature start smiling down on us’. The Registration tables, food tents , sponsorship tables were setup and a beautiful altar in the front with Gurudev’s pictures greeted the participants. The registration team handled the registration and handed them their t-shirts. The beautiful purple t-shirts were designed by our very own Sahana Narayan with a lotus adorning the front. There was warm upma and chai for all the volunteers . It was a festive atmosphere and laughter and joy was evident in all faces.

Our Jchyks Keshvi, Shreya and Vidhi did a wonderful job scripting and MCing the event. At 9:00 we started with a dance warm up routine to get our muscles moving followed by a prayer from Sushma ji and Siva ji who flagged off the walk. Some ran , some walked , kids skipped , babies were carried , conversations flowed and some chose meditative silence and even a little turtle managed to join the fun. People stopped to admire different spots or catch up with friends . Meanwhile back in the tent, the food team had got the fuel ready for the participants. There were bananas, bagels, muffins and energy bars. By 10:30 everyone was back. There was a ceremony where the wonderful contributions of out 13 sponsors and 2 donors was acknowledged. Of these, 6 are new sponsors and 2 are from our Chinmaya family. As always Sai Market sponsored the bananas for the event. After all the fun it was time to wind down and volunteers started the process of cleaning up . At 11:30 it was a wrap.

This is huge event and to pull it off , takes a village. A team of 50 volunteers worked tirelessly starting January . When mentioning volunteers we should not forget the 10 Jchyks who volunteered in different ways .

The money raised will be donated to CORD and United Way of Forsyth.

What made it a walk to remember? Every participant who supported it, in person or otherwise, every volunteer who smilingly did whatever was assigned to him , the kids who frolicked about showing off their t-shirts , the teenagers who eagerly participated and nature which smiled down on all of it. See y’all next Year!!