Run for Kids: Raising Awareness About Critical Issues Facing Children Around the World

Media Contact: Brendan Daly (202.794.1580)

PEORIA, Illinois (Nov. 10, 2014) — Save the Children Action Network, a national organization focused on mobilizing Americans around investing in early childhood, and Washington Gifted School today hosted a Run for Kids event to raise awareness about the critical issues facing children around the world. Globally, more than 6.3 million children die each year from mostly preventable diseases such as malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea. The vast majority of these deaths occur in the developing world.

“Today’s Run for Kids event provides a tremendous opportunity for students at Washington Gifted School to make a difference in the lives of children whose voices are not heard,” said Mark Shriver, president of Save the Children Action Network. “Over the last two decades, child mortality rates have decreased by nearly 50 percent. We can continue this positive momentum and end preventable child deaths within a generation if we act now. The Washington Gifted students serve as example for how we all, regardless of age, can play an important role in reaching this goal.”

More than 280 Washington Gifted School students participated in today’s event which began with a school-wide assembly featuring student speakers who highlighted ways American children can take simple actions like participating in a Run for Kids event to help prevent childhood deaths. Following the assembly, students participated in several relay races to log miles to add to the Run for Kids campaign to run a total of 5,000 miles — the equivalent of how many miles many children must walk each year to get access to clean water, nutritious food and healthcare. The students also organized a fundraiser and letter writing campaign to raise awareness about preventable childhood deaths.

“We are excited to partner with Save the Children Action Network as the students of Washington Gifted continue to demonstrate the school mission of ‘Dignity and Respect for All’ — and that includes the global community,” said Dave Poehls, principal of Washington Gifted School. “Our students stand with children around the world in a united stance of hope and dignity.”

“I think it’s so important to get kids involved in community service at an early age, and working with Save the Children Action Network has been a great way to help our kids have a positive experience,” said teacher Damon Heikkinen who worked with students to coordinate the event. “Our students are doing good for other kids at home and around the world, and they’re feeling good about doing it. I’m also glad that our students had a chance to write and be heard by their congressman. Hopefully they’re getting set up for a lifetime of positive civic engagement.”

Run for Kids is a part of a global campaign in which teams of children in America and around the world are working to help children in the world’s toughest places by setting a goal to run a total of 5,000 miles. Last year more than 20,000 children from more than 40 countries participated in the event.

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Save the Children Action Network is the political voice for kids. We believe that every child deserves the best start in life. That’s why we’re building bipartisan will and voter support to make sure every child in the U.S. has access to high-quality early learning and that no mother or child around the globe dies from a preventable disease or illness. By investing in kids and holding leaders accountable, we are helping kids from birth to age five survive and thrive.