By Hannah Rueber
Every year during TeenStreet (TS), participants will see a large portion of Sunday blocked out for an activity called “Raise And Give” (RAG). This fundraiser is an open-door opportunity to raise money for a global cause. Anyone can join, and everyone contributes to the help-your-neighbour plan. All they need to do is find people to sponsor them per lap for a 1km track run.
During the 2017 RAG race, teens will be seeking to raise €100,000 for Vocations for the Future Project in Kosovo. Aimed to give young people (especially ones struggling in school) a chance for a better future after a past of various abuse, this project offers vocational training in addition to normal education. These skills will give the participants more opportunities to find practical jobs that will help them earn a living.
Diturie (Albania; Kosovo representative) said, “The first time I came to TS, I was so impressed and encouraged. I believe this is a good and healthy generation because they can think and learn how to give for others. So that’s why it’s so encouraging for me to see young people from different countries giving to a smaller country like Kosovo.”
“I think what’s so amazing about this RAG race is that we really can make a difference,” Fiona (UK; RAG staff member) explained. “We’ve pointed out that it takes about €250/year to sponsor a teen. We’re challenging the NET groups [4-6 teens] to raise amounts like that, rather than having one person feel like they have to raise it all.”
The RAG race on Sunday afternoon certainly had an interesting start. Just as the participants had lined up for the start, dark clouds moved in and brought enough rain to send everyone inside. Runners and viewers felt the wind moments before hail began to fall. Thankfully, the storm passed quickly and everyone moved back outside. Wet pavement and cooler temperatures wouldn’t stop these teens from running.
After a dramatic countdown, the crowd cheered the runners off. With participants ranging from ages 6 and up, dressed in everything from Power Rangers to animals to elderly ladies, it proved to be an exciting event to see.
Christian (Austria) ran for the full two hours holding an American flag on a rod in honour of veterans and friends who have died while serving their country.
TS staff encouraged the runners through a loud speaker while standing in the bed of a truck. “You are strong! You can keep going! We believe in you!”
Some of the runners dove into the excitement of the event, yelling to their friends on the sideline that “this is crazy!”
“I love to run,” Tom (Australia) said, “so this was a great way to do some running. The greatest part was the support, the people who stood in the same spot for two hours cheering us on.”
“Some people may just run for the fun of it,” Friedi (Germany) explained, “but I really hope they reach their financial goal.”
Keep an eye on the TS website for updates on the final amount raised!