Spring is here in Atlanta and for Chinmaya Gurukul families that is the time we gear up for our Chinmaya Tej Walkathon. This is an annual walkathon organized by Chinmaya Gurukul which supports CORD or Chinmaya Organization for Rural Development . Every year hundreds of well wishers gather along with family and friends to support initiatives uplifting the lives of villagers from 1000+ villages across India and Sri Lanka , having fun along the way. This year the walkathon was scheduled for April 15th . As has been the practice for the last few years, the walk was to be in and around South Forsyth Middle School
The preparation for an event like this started quite early in January. Our lead Ananth started with reaching out to different groups, setting up the website, setting up Whatsapp groups with different leads and also the setup for the payment methods were setup. The local county had to be informed to ensure we had police to monitor the event.
Announcements were made in BalaVihar every week encouraging parents and kids to join. In addition we recruited the help of social media to broadcast our message . Using various channels like Facebook, Whatsapp we watched with bated breath as the numbers climbed. 2 weeks were left and the number stood at 230. But a last minute push by all the sevaks took the number to 407. All the leads brought with them all the enthusiasm, love , humility and an ability to learn and persevere. The event was supposed to start at 9:00 and finish at 11:30.
As the event drew near, as is the mischief of the forces, it looked like it would rain . We all heaved a sigh of relief when the weather guys said it will be a beautiful sunny day . Volunteers gathered at 7:30 at SFMS and worked furiously to get the various station setup. There were stations for t-shirt distribution, food for the participants, water stations along the route , route monitoring volunteers who had to be driven up and parking volunteers .
At 9:00 we kicked it off with prayers from Sushmaji and Sivaji after which there was a 7 minute warmup sequence. Young and Young at hearts participated vigorously in a dance aerobic sequence that eased up our muscles for the walk to come. The walk was flagged off and groups of people set off. The more serious runners and walkers made an early headway ,in the morning sun. Others followed at their own pace doing small talk and making friends along the way or greeting old ones. Water stations were setup though people had also been encouraged to bring their own water bottles. By 10:45 all the runners, except a few were back . Of course as participants came in they were greeted by smiling volunteers handing them bagels , bananas . The T-Shirt station was extremely busy with people collecting their lovely blue t-shirts emblazoned with the CORD sign and the Om symbol along with the names of our sponsors. Everything went off smoothly and with precision. After this was the ceremony to honor our sponsors, without whom this would not have been possible . We thank all our sponsors who have been with us from the bottom of our hearts:
Datum Technologies Group
Rainbow Pediatric Clinic LLC
Santhosh Real Estate LLC
Smile Magic Dentistry
One Family Pediatrics
In addition to that Sai Market gave bananas for free.
You want to know what this taught our BalaVihar Kids ? Our very own 3rd grade class kids raised $120 for the walkathon. JCHYKs volunteered at check-in desk , in water station ,at food stations and t-shirt distribution . Some of them also helped with the cleanup. That’s for the kids. Want to know what the adult volunteers got? Yummy breakfast and chai followed by wonderful companionship with a group of like minded spiritual seekers, a satsang if you will. For our efforts we raised $16500 which will be sent to CORD.
CORD is Gurudev’s vision and Chinmaya Gurukul gets to be a part of this vision with the combined efforts of our volunteers and community. Won’t you join us next year?
For all those who missed, here’s all the fun in this video.