06/03/13 — Student plans race to fund well

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Student plans race to fund well

By Matt Caulder
Published in News on June 3, 2013 1:46 PM

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Katie Johnson has organized a 5K race to raise money for the small African village of Kiruani in the Maynara province of Tanzania. The race is part of Project KATIE.

When Katie Johnson spent time with her father and other volunteers in Tanzania over Christmas break, she saw firsthand what poverty really means, and gained a little bit of perspective as well.

"They have no funds for purified water and their clothes are ripped -- and we complain because the AC is out and it's too hot," the Charles B. Aycock High School senior said.

Touched by the plight of the people in the town she visited, Kiruani, she came home and decided to do more than talk about what she had seen.

She decided to make a difference.

And Project KATIE -- Keeping All Tots in Education -- was born.

Runners and walkers will gather June 15 for the first 5K run through the streets of Goldsboro to raise money for the small African village of Kiruani in the Maynara province of Tanzania.

The goal is to supply the children of Kiruani with school supplies and scholarships to improve their chances of getting an education and bettering their lives.

The proceeds from the race will be used to help dig a well in the village to provide clean drinking water.

"The river isn't clean," Miss Johnson said. "Cows stand in it and urinate and defecate in the river they get their water from."

It will cost approximately $15,000 to dig a well in Kiruani deep enough to provide a safe source of water.

Miss Johnson has $2,000 already raised and hopes proceeds from the 5K will bring her within sight of her goal.

The project also offers scholarships for $30 a month for students to attend the school and get a meal while at school.

"The families live on an income of less than $500 a year," she said.

The daughter of Zion Methodist Church Associate Pastor Doug Johnson, who runs Blessed2BlessU Ministries, the project's parent ministry, said she believes she has been directed by God to take up the mission.

A number of businesses are sponsoring the run, ranging from bronze level sponsors donating $50 to $100 for the silver level and $200 and over for gold level sponsorship.

Miss Johnson expects between 75 and 100 runners on the day of the event.

Registration for the race costs $25 in advance, and is $30 the day of the race.

Check-in for the race will start at 8 a.m. at St. Paul United Methodist Church on Chestnut Street and the race will start at 9 a.m.

Runners will receive a T-shirt, drinks and snacks as well as an entry into the raffle for a beach trip vacation donated by Hobbs Realty.

For more information, call Miss Johnson at 919-920-1467 or Doug Johnson at 919-920-0932.