Called upon to organize a race seemed to be the perfect fit.
Jordan Jones, a St. Andrew’s Priory sophomore, was asked to organize this year’s Hawaii Children and Youth Day Fun Run. The race allowed her to apply her passion for running to a community service project. But when a series of events led to the postponement of this year’s Youth Day, Jones tapped into her leadership skills and perseverance to keep the race running.
In August, the Hawaii State Ethics Commission warned that Youth Day should not utilize state resources or be marketed as a state event. The annual October event was held on Capitol grounds and organized by state Sen. Suzanne Chun Oakland.
When Youth Day was called off for 2015, there went the marketing, manpower, money, permits and liability insurance for Jones’ race. When Punahou alum Gordon Kowalkowski organized the race the last two years, Youth Day organizers were able to send race fliers to thousands of public school children. Halting the race would have been the fastest and easiest solution for Jones, whose extracurricular schedule includes cross country practices, music and church commitments.
“When I get nervous or start stressing out, I remember why I’m doing it, why did I sign up to do this run?” Jones, a member of the Priory/Pac-Five cross country and track teams and one of the top runners in the ILH. “Because I wanted the kids to have a day to have fun. I wanted Gordon’s run to continue and I didn’t want the run to die with him because he went to college. I just try to balance my schedule and sometimes I have to sacrifice watching TV or going on the computer to work on the fun run for a little while.”
With help from various volunteers, the Children Youth Day Fun Run will happen on Oct. 4 at Kakaako Waterfront Park — albeit on a smaller scale. The 1- and 3-kilometer race is open 125 participants who are under 18. There is no entry fee and all runners will receive a medal — one of the costlier expenses for the race.
“I just decided to keep doing it because it’s a good cause and I had worked really hard on it already,” Jones said. “I didn’t want to give up.”
She recruited her Priory teachers and classmates, as well as Pac-Five teammates to volunteer at the race. Utilizing her Youth Day connections, the race secured permits and liability insurance.
“The biggest thing was the liability insurance because if we didn’t have the insurance, then we wouldn’t have been able to have the run because we wouldn’t have been able to pay for it,” Jones said.
Donations have helped cover expenses such as race medals and refreshments.
“If people just want to throw a little bit here and there, to help with some of the other things, that’ll be great, too,” Jones said.
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