Walking for a cause

Nov. 25, 2004, midnight | By Feza Kikaya | 19 years ago

A first-person experience at the Help the Homeless Walkathon

On Saturday, Nov. 20, I awoke at 7:00 a.m. and, an hour later, met up with several of my fellow W.E.B. Dubois Honor Society members to participate in the 17th annual Help the Homeless 5K Walkathon, which took place in Washington, D.C., around the National Mall.

The participants' great dedication immediately stood out to me as I walked towards the start line of the Walkathon. People of all races and ages marched towards the start with an air of determination. Everywhere I turned, light-blue, long-sleeved "Help the Homeless" shirts decked the sidewalks. People pushing babies in strollers, holding the hands of toddlers or leading dogs on leashes filled the grounds near the National Gallery of Art.

After the lively aerobics routine that was performed on stage to get the walkers warmed up and pumped, the event began and continued for a little under two hours. Volunteers stationed at various distances encouraged the crowd as they yelled out cheers to support participants. Small instrumental bands were set up at various spots throughout the walk and offered relief from the often monotonous drone of voices and footsteps. As I walked, I was reminded of my familiar experiences of trying to make it down Blair Boulevard on a school day. Despite my initial discomfort because the streets were so tightly packed, I quickly appreciated the dedication and commitment my fellow walkers were showing towards making a difference in their community.

Much to my delight, the 60-degree weather allowed us to have a pleasant stroll around the Capitol. As the walk progressed, the streets became less and less dense as the roads widened and diverged, allowing walkers to take the route they desired to get to the finish line. After some time, I found myself forgetting about my reason for walking as the immense scenery, with its green trees and many views of the Capitol and Smithsonian museums, allowed for a "mini-tour" around the National Mall. Walkers everywhere were seen stopping briefly to observe the river near the Monument, to allow their dogs to wander around or to stop and appreciate the few bands that were present performing a number of selections to further encourage the Walk's participants.

After about an hour and 40 minutes, several of my fellow walkers and I approached the finish line to sounds of Motown-type selections being performed by a live band. The volunteers, passing out bottles of Aquafina and handing out a variety of granola bars, helped me quickly forget the gradual pain I was feeling in my legs. The enthusiasm that emanated from the growing crowd allowed me to appreciate people that make an effort to support a good cause.

My experience at the Help the Homeless Walkathon reminded me that there are many things one can do to make a difference in people's lives. I intend to participate in other walkathons in the future so that I can be a part of the population that walks to support a worthy cause.

W.E.B. Dubois Honor Society members that participated in the Help the Homeless Walkathon with sponsor Wendell Hall were seniors Rut Beyene, KJ Bonhomme, Amelie Carbonie, Danielle Foster, Christina Lafontant, Sheri Lawal, Elisheba Wiggins and juniors Emmy Frenz and Soulyana Lakew.

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Feza Kikaya. Feza Kikaya is finally a SENIOR in the CAP program at Blair. She enjoys driving, hanging out with friends and laughing. Most importantly, Feza is counting down the days to graduation so she can begin a new chapter of her life in college. Her favorite … More »

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