Change Makers

Churches, schools, corporations rally for clean water as 6K host sites

When you walk or run the Global 6K for Water, you provide life-changing clean water to one person! You can create even more impact by becoming a host site and gathering friends and family to walk and run with you. It’s easier than throwing a birthday party.

When you sign up to host a 6K on Saturday, May 4, 2019, we’ll equip you with online resources like a planning guide, marketing materials, and race day experience goodies including a start and finish banner, mile markers, and T-shirts, bibs, and medals for your participants.

Check out what people like you have to say about how easy and impactful it is to host the Global 6K for Water:

Register as a host site for the Global 6K for Water on May 4, 2019, and bring clean water to people in need!

Employees from HOH Water Technology walk together in the 2018 Global 6K for Water.
Employees from HOH Water Technology walk together in the 2018 Global 6K for Water. (Photo courtesy of HOH Water Technology)

Chicago-area company creates vision through the Global 6K for Water

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published April 5, 2019

Tom and Reid Hutchison share not just a name that runs a third-generation family-business, but they also share a passion for bringing clean water to people in need.

Their company, HOH Water Technology in Palatine, Illinois, specializes in water treatment solutions. Tom serves as president of the Chicago-area organization, and Reid, his son, works as the director of marketing. While their business has a stake in the water game, God placed a burden on each of their hearts in different ways to help solve the global water crisis.

Since then, both Tom and Reid have become passionate about educating and inspiring HOH’s 100 employees and the company’s network about the worldwide lack of access to clean water and participating in the annual Global 6K for Water. Find out how. Read more >>

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Kansas school unites community as Global 6K for Water host site

By Chris Huber
Published March 7, 2019

Mendy Burnett and Kim Swader like to make things happen. They like it even more when their community comes together to make things happen for a cause dear to their hearts.

A local water crisis in a small Kansas town sparked a teacher’s interest in bringing her community together as a World Vision Global 6K for Water host site.
Runners take off from the start line in the World Vision Global 6K for Water event May 19, 2018, at Chanute Christian Academy in Chanute, Kansas. More than 300 students and families from the private school, local public schools, and 10 churches participated in the event. (Photo courtesy of Mendy Burnett)

They have organized World Vision’s Global 6K for Water at their kids’ school, Chanute Christian Academy in Chanute, Kansas, every year since 2017. As host site leaders, Mendy, a teacher and mother of three, and Kim, a stay-at-home mother of four, tackle lots of moving parts. Promoting the event at school assemblies, organizing teams of volunteers, laying out the 6K course, and coaching participants to fundraise for clean water can take a lot of time and effort.

But they have turned it into a community-wide team-building exercise. In fact, they have used the opportunity not only to raise support for World Vision’s clean water work around the world but to galvanize students, their families, and the whole community for a cause greater than themselves.

“Regardless of background, it was a community-building event,” Mendy says. “It was a moment for the community to come together and do something substantial.”

The two friends explain what led them and their school to sign up as a Global 6K host site. Read more >>

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Global 6K for Water instills a vision in future leaders

By Laura Reinhardt
Published July 31, 2018

The partnership between Lake Center Christian School and World Vision started when students in the running club signed up for World Vision’s Global 6K for Water. When the day arrived last May, Ohio’s spring weather wasn’t exactly ideal — it was snowing. Despite the less-than-stellar conditions, 40 of the 50 participants who’d committed still showed up for the event.

Dannon Stock, who led the running club at that time, says those tough circumstances contributed to the students’ feelings of solidarity with children who have to walk 6 kilometers every day for water.

This year, the fifth-grade classes have embraced World Vision’s Global 6K for Water as the service-learning component in their school, which is about 30 minutes outside of Akron. Service to Christ is one of the school’s core values, and they look for unique ways to meet the needs of their immediate area as well as the global community. This event seemed tailor-made for them.

The students created soaps, hand sanitizer, and bracelets to raise money for their entrance fees and to donate to clean water efforts. The third-grade teachers wanted another activity for their classes to do for their service project. Again, World Vision provided the answer with the Matthew 25 ChallengeRead more >>

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Magna Exteriors joins the Global 6K challenge

By Heather Klinger
Published April 19, 2018

After avid runner Ryan Dwornik finished a 20-mile training run for the Columbus Marathon, he was exhausted. But then he thought to run another 3.73 miles (6 kilometers) — the average distance women and children in Africa walk for water that is often unsafe to drink.

Ryan Dwornik crosses the finish line of the 2016 Columbus Marathon. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Dwornik)

“While I’m out enjoying a run, I think about how people in Africa don’t have the same freedom because they’re so consumed by this need for water that it takes over their entire life,” Ryan says. This inspires him to do everything he can to help.

Ryan’s a manufacturing manager for Magna Exteriors — an operating unit of Magna International, one of the largest automotive parts suppliers in the world. When he joined Team World Vision for IRONMAN Wisconsin, he set an ambitious $25,000 fundraising goal for himself. Then the president of Magna Exteriors challenged him to double it. But Ryan knew that he wasn’t going to be successful without some help and large-scale thinking.

Meanwhile, his coworkers were discussing how they could bring together Magna Exteriors’ running community across multiple locations and tie it into a charity. One thing led to another, and in 2017, more than 2,000 Magna Exteriors employees and their families participated across 13 countries, raising more than $250,000.

“We’re coming together as a company to do something bigger than we could do individually,” Ryan says.

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Delta Air Lines is again the official sponsor of World Vision's Global 6K for Water event in Seattle at Gas Works Park on May 19. Learn the story behind the partnership.
Tony Gonchar, Delta Air Lines’ vice president in Seattle, and Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S., right, stand at the finish line of the 2017 Global 6K for Water holding jerry cans that people around the world use to gather water. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

Delta Air Lines, World Vision U.S. partner to provide clean water

By Phil Manzano
Published March 16, 2018

Walking or running a 6K is easy for Tony Gonchar, Delta Air Lines’ vice president in Seattle. But after World Vision’s 2017 Global 6K for Water, he had a new appreciation for the distance.

Six kilometers is the average distance that people who lack access to clean water walk each day to get water, often carrying heavy jugs or jerry cans filled with water on the return trip. And that’s what Tony did: carry a 5-gallon jerry can, filled with about 40 sloshing, awkward pounds of water, on a route around Gas Works Park in Seattle.

“I was here with my daughter and her boyfriend, so thankfully I had some moral support on this,” Tony says as he recovered at a tent at the event site. “I can tell you; I feel like I’m a pretty fit guy, but that was a very hard thing to do.”

Participants in last year’s Global 6K for Water in Seattle make their way along the course to raise money for clean water around the world. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

About 1,300 walkers and runners in Seattle and more than 28,000 people worldwide walked the Global 6K to raise money to provide clean water to people without access. Through World Vision’s work, one person gets clean water every 10 seconds.

“With every step, I was imagining what it’s like to do this barefoot,” he says. “What it’s like to do on dirt, in fear of your life, and to only — at the end of the journey — have a can full of dirty water that needs to be purified.

“It was an incredible experience. It provides an appreciation not only for the life that I have, but the appreciation that we might be able to do something about these poor conditions that people face around the world every day.”

Delta is again the official sponsor of the 2018 Global 6K for Water event in Seattle at Gas Works Park.

“We’ve been partners with World Vision as their preferred airlines supplier for the last five years,” Tony says. The 6K was attractive because it was an event calling for personal engagement — walk a mile in the shoes of people that really have a very difficult time in life trying just to get the things we take for granted, like clean water.

So Delta, Tony says, was happy to once again support the 6K event as part of its efforts to support the local community. In Seattle alone, Delta partners with more than 100 charities, and worldwide, Delta gives back 1 percent of its profits — about $40 million — to charitable organizations.

Last May, lugging the jerry can on the 6K route, Tony’s race bib featured an 11-year-old for whom he walked.

He says, “I can tell you, having walked with the jerry can, you have a real appreciation how difficult it could be just to get something that we turn the tap on and take for granted.

“We’re doing it in our track shoes and our Gor-Tex clothing, and it’s still a challenge. This event helps people understand the difficulty that other people around the world face in accessing basic necessities, and hopefully everybody walks away with a greater appreciation.”

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A Tennessee church walked and ran for clean water last year. Now they’re making strides for the Global 6K for Water to become a community-wide event.
Pastor Ryan Krivsky pictured in the mission area of First Baptist Church in Columbia, Tennessee. He and 225 members of the church participated in the 2017 Global 6K for Water and plan to make it a bigger event this year. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by David Mudd)

‘Because you walked this 6K today, a child doesn’t have to.’

By Chris Huber
Published Feb. 28, 2018

A small-town church in Tennessee is making a global impact.

“During a (church) service, I asked people to raise their hand if they wanted to change the world,” says Ryan Krivsky, worship pastor and Global 6K for Water host site leader. “I said, ‘You can because you can change someone else’s world.’ They can see that in [the Global 6K for Water]. They can see the change they’re making in one person’s world.”

Ryan says he was immediately excited about the idea when he got a flier in the mail. It was the perfect opportunity for the church to be on mission. First Baptist Church of Columbia hadn’t done something like this before. It sent a wave of excitement through the church.

For their first time doing this, Ryan says the church was deeply motivated, and they went all out: signing up for the race, enthusiastically raising money, and about 20 people volunteering to help with event logistics. Each participant’s $50 entrance fee provides clean water to one person. Runners and walkers can also choose to raise funds for water on a fundraising page or to sponsor the child pictured on their race bib.

“It wasn’t just, ‘Give to this general effort,’” Ryan says. “It was, ‘Oh, I’m giving to this person.’ That personalization is what really got my interest in it and what got a lot of people into it.”

Each time a person crossed the race’s finish line, Ryan and other volunteers put a medal around their neck, looked at them, and reminded them: “Because you walked this 6K today, a child doesn’t have to.” They referred to the child pictured on each participant’s race bib.

It was a powerful moment for Ryan and many others, he says.

Participants ranged in age from 6 all the way up to their 70s. It helped Ryan, the church, and the community cast a vision for a larger communitywide 6K event in 2018. He and last year’s participants have been promoting the Global 6K for Water in their community, and he’s planning to take the idea to the city council before this year’s event.

“You feel like you’re doing something,” he says. “You can see that difference in one person’s life.”

Columbia is known for its annual spring Mule Day festival. So Ryan wants to call his 6K host site the ‘Mule Town 6K.’

“It’s close-knit, and if you can get a community like that behind it, you could just exponentially grow what the impact is.”

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A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
Lyndsey Watson, associate pastor at Cascade Covenant Church in North Bend, Washington, leads church members at the Global 6K for Water near Gas Works Park in Seattle in 2017. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

A Washington state church mobilizes to walk the Global 6K for Water

By Phil Manzano
Published Feb. 15, 2018

A couple of years ago, 20 members of Cascade Covenant Church in North Bend, Washington, joined Team World Vision to run and raise money to bring clean water to children around the world.

Then last year, about 70 people from the church joined the Global 6K for Water: young and old, walking or running to serve in a simple, but powerful way.

“It is such an easy way to have people put their faith in action,” Senior Pastor Dan Boehlje says. “We’re just one tiny little church here in Washington, but you multiply that across the United States, across the globe and that makes a big difference.”

A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
Pastor Dan Boehlje. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Nestled in the shadow of the Cascades east of Seattle, the 6K has given Cascade Covenant a broader and deeper view of changing the world through the local congregation and community.

“It’s just show up and walk or run,” Dan says. “And it really does create its own momentum as people get excited for it because of what it means.”

Last year, about 1,300 people walked or ran the 6K course near Gas Works Park in Seattle. Worldwide, about 27,000 people walked or ran to raise awareness and money to solve the world’s water crisis.

“I want to thank you for coming,” World Vision U.S. President Rich Stearns says. “I have met men and women who are 70 years old and have never taken a clean shower or a bath in their lives. I’ve seen little children who have never had a cup of clean water to drink in their lives. Those are the people you’re running for today. Just imagine living 70 years and never having access to clean water.”

On May 19 and 20, 2018, World Vision will again host the Global 6K for Water and Celebration Sunday with participants across the U.S. and around the world.

Why a 6K? Six kilometers, about 3.7 miles, is the average distance people — usually women and girls — walk to get water in the developing world. It’s not a leisurely stroll; it’s a difficult, frequently dangerous, and time-consuming journey. And the water is dirty.

Each participant wears a race bib with a picture of a child, representing one person who will get clean water. Every $50 registration fee goes toward providing clean water for one person.

Sharing the struggle for water with children

“It was always important to me to teach my kids to be grateful for what they had,” says Angela McCann, children’s pastor at Cascade Covenant. “And so as a mother, I just think this is such a great way to teach our kids to be thankful for something as simple as a clean glass of water that’s right out of the tap.”

Even for the children she pastors, the 6K is relevant and potentially life changing.

A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
Angela McCann, children’s pastor. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

The kids get it, she says. They understand what it means to have to go get water. They understand the effort to walk 6 kilometers and that kids their age do that every day around the world. Often, more than once a day.

“When we accept Jesus in our hearts, yes, we can follow God and be in heaven,” Angela says. “But there’s more to it. He’s still bringing light and healing to this world and we’re participants in that. So for me, this is faith in action. This is an application of bringing that light of Christ into the dark places of this world.”

Last year, one of her fifth graders asked his mom to text a picture of him crossing the Global 6K for Water finish line to  Angela.

“This is a fifth grader who is so excited that he got to be part of this,” Angela says. “I think of all the kids that were there from my congregation. What is this going to do for them when they’re in middle school? What is this going to do for them when they’re in college? How is this going to affect them and the people around them when they’re in high school and college? I just — that is what gives me chills.”

Impacting communities through child sponsorship

“Our whole goal is to engage our church in our community, in our world,” says Lyndsey Watson, an associate pastor at Cascade Covenant who has been the driving force behind the 6K at Cascade.

The experience of the 6K and sponsorship helps drive a deeper and more meaningful connection.

“Through sponsorship, you get to really engage in the conversation,” Lyndsey says. “We sponsor a little boy named Emmanuel, and he is awesome, and he’s growing. I get to see videos of him. I get to write emails to him. I get to write letters. My kids get to engage with that. We get to send him gifts in the mail and then hear from him, and that’s what makes it special.”

A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
The sponsorship booth on Global Sponsorship Sunday. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Cascade’s denomination, the Evangelical Covenant Church, and World Vision partner to work in the Democratic Republic of the Congo where the denomination has a long history of community development and relationship with the Congo Covenant Church. The children sponsored through World Vision at Cascade Covenant are from the same area of the Congo through a partnership called Covenant Kids Congo powered by World Vision.

“It’s not just that child; it’s that family, it’s that community we’re able to impact,” Lyndsey says. “I think people are able then to grasp a little bit more of what it means to actually come alongside these families in the Congo and see their lives transformed for the better.”

‘A tangible way to be the hands and feet of Jesus’

For Jaime Cole and her four children, ages 8 to 13, the Global 6K for Water was educational, allowing them to identify with children who walk for water.

“In our culture, it’s easy for us to forget how easy things are for us, like having water on a daily basis,” Jaime says. “And so doing the 6K was a good example, a physical reminder and example of what it would be like if we didn’t have that easy access and the ability to afford things like water on a regular, everyday basis.”

And while they had fun and learned something new, Jaime says the family wanted a more permanent bond with the children who walk for water, so they sponsored a child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“It’s a real tangible way to be the hands and feet of Jesus,” Jaime says. “We’re always looking for opportunities to do that with the family and to constantly remind ourselves that we have the ability with what we’ve been given to give back to others and to represent God’s love in that way.”

‘We’re all sponsored into God’s kingdom’

A church runs and walks the Global 6k for Water to bring clean water to children around the world.
Cascade Covenant Church in North Bend, Washington. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Duane and Julie Duim have been longtime partners of World Vision, traveling to Zambia to meet their sponsored child, which Duane says was a life-changing moment. Participating in the Global 6K for Water was natural for their family of six.

“It went well,” Julie says. “They loved it, rallied behind it. They loved running for a purpose too. We had a great time.”

But the Duim family wanted to do more, so they sponsored one of the children on their race bibs that day — their fifth sponsored child through World Vision.

“You commonly get asked, why you would do something like this,” Duane says. “For our family, it’s been important to ask the question, not so much why are you doing but why not? Why would you not want to come in and be able to love others the way Christ loves us?

“We know that we’re all sponsored into God’s kingdom, and he calls us to do the same with his children. And we’re fortunate to be blessed in order that we can turn around and be a blessing to others. And this is just one small way to be able to do that.”

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Oregon teacher cuts off hair to promote Global 6K for Water

By Chris Huber
Published Feb. 15, 2018

As teacher Tammy Belau sat with pigtails in a lone chair in the middle of the gym floor in front of 250 students, two eager middle-school boys flanked her wielding dull scissors and wide grins. Tammy quickly counted into the microphone — one, two, three — and the boys spent the next two minutes cutting off 10 inches of her hair.

This was the boys’ reward for finishing first in the Global 6K for Water last May. Tammy, a middle school math and high school finance teacher at Hosanna Christian School in Klamath Falls, Oregon, hosted the event to encourage the community to raise funds for World Vision to bring clean water to communities in the developing world. To add an extra layer of motivation, she pledged to donate an inch of hair for every 10 people registered if their school reached 100 participants.

“God gave me so much in Jesus, and I love to give. It is so rewarding to surprise people and give joy,” Tammy says. “I loved that I was able to sacrifice something as simple as my hair to motivate 100 people to make a difference.”

Her long, brown locks discovered their fate months earlier when Tammy heard about World Vision’s Global 6K for Water at a teachers’ conference. She was immediately drawn to the cause — partly because it sounded easy to do and partly because she knew the people of Klamath Falls would be keen to participate. So she signed up the school as a host site and started recruiting students, teachers, her kids, and community members.

Teacher sitting with students outside near race course where they participated in the Global 6K for Water in May 2017.
Tammy Belau (center) a teacher at Hosanna Christian School in Klamath Falls, Oregon, sits near part of the race course with some the students who participated in the 2017 Global 6K for Water. (©2017 Genesis Photos/photo by Ryan Hawk)

Getting buy-in was easy, Tammy says. She announced it in daily school emails and at weekly chapel gatherings with students and posted a bright orange and white sign in the hallway. In the lead-up to the 6K, she found encouragement and camaraderie in the community cultivated on the Global 6K leaders’ Facebook page set up to share photos and ideas among World Vision staff and host site coordinators around the world.

“Where I live, we have a lot of outdoor activities,” Tammy says. “I know people like to do short races. It’s very doable.”

They can sympathize with children who have to travel far from their home to get water. “The people of our community want to give,” she says. “We face droughts too.”

A few years ago, the water supply dried up in part of their county, so those residents had to drive to Klamath Falls to get bottled water to weather the drought.

Tammy is a doer and inspires others to be one too. But the implications of the cause didn’t fully engulf her until right before race day.

“The impact of this struck me when I was walking the course with my daughter beforehand and we passed a couple of drainage canals,” Tammy says. “It hit me that this is the water that those kids have to drink. My kids don’t have to drink this water. My kids flush the toilet with clean water.”

Seeing those ditches helped Tammy and her daughter grasp the reality of what children on their race bibs are up against. Understanding that reality is huge, she says.

Altogether, Tammy and her team raised about $4,000, which will bring clean water to 80 people. Tammy and her husband were also inspired to embed this cause deeper into their family ethos, so they sponsored the three children on their race bibs.

“Hair grows back, but even bigger is the impact I know I made to my own daughters as well as the entire school. Love comes with sacrifice, but it’s always worth it,” Tammy says. “God comes to us with a gift. We come with open hands, and then we need to turn and give. We can’t keep him to ourselves.”

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All Shores Wesleyan Church in Michigan is again a host site for the Global 6K for Water on May 6, 2017. 6K is the average distance people in the developing world walk for water.
Jerilynn Spring listens to her husband, Thad (in orange), and Nick DeBone as they share a laugh at All Shores Wesleyan Church in Spring Lake, Michigan. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Todd McInturf)

Global 6K for Water: ‘Anybody can do it’

By Heather Klinger
Published Feb. 22, 2017

Nick DeBone is your typical runner.

He’s the 30-year-old dad you see running while pushing his kids in a stroller. Occasionally, his kids might jump out for a bit and join him, or they might be asking if it’s time to head home yet. He enjoys running, and he’s tackled a marathon and a few half-marathons. Nick could have easily run the 6K his church hosted that frigid Saturday morning in March 2016, but instead, he chose mostly to walk.

6K, a little more than 3.7 miles, is the average distance women and children in Africa walk for water that is often unsafe to drink. Nick alternatively walked and jogged that morning so he could get to know and encourage the people around him — members of his church congregation who were walking, jogging, and running this average distance for an extraordinary cause.

“It’s a great distance,” Nick says. “Anyone can walk that. It’s the biggest impact, I think, that $50 can make. … The idea of us not having clean water is insane. We don’t even understand that.”

As a host site, his church in Spring Lake, Michigan, helped everyone register, mapped out a course site, and hosted more than 40 participants, who each wore a race bib with the name, age, and a location of a child who would receive clean water.

“Honestly, a lot of times non-runners really have the biggest hearts for this mission,” says Nick. He organizes Team World Vision events — like the Global 6K for Water — with the All Shores Wesleyan Church outreach pastor, Thad Spring.

“The transformation that the 6K brings to you personally and those that you’re walking or running for is worth it,” Thad says. “I’ve watched children drink out of dirty streams where cows are standing in Zambia, watched children drink dirty water in Haiti, and seen pastors who are dying of cholera because of dirty water. So for me, there’s a personal touch and involvement.”

The transformation that the 6K brings to you personally and those that you’re walking or running for is worth it.—Thad Spring, outreach pastor at All Shores Wesleyan Church

But unlike Nick, Thad doesn’t think of himself as a runner.

“I’m 5’10”, 230 pounds. It takes me a while to get in shape and get going,” the 46-year-old says, laughing. “But I enjoy running and the running process. Anybody can do it. Old and young.”

All Shores — a two-campus church of about 1,200 — first participated in the 6K back in 2015 with three participants, including Nick, but one runner was sick and barely slept the night before.

“These people in Africa — it doesn’t matter what their night was like — they have to wake up to walk 6K for water anyway,” says Nick. “He had that thought process: They don’t get to skip out on a walk for water in a day because they aren’t feeling good, so I’m not going to.”

Then in 2016, their church became a 6K host site. The morning of the 6K, they had about 25 people signed up, but then families kept arriving, and they nearly doubled that amount when it came time to begin.

Here’s what you need to know to prepare well for the Global 6K for Water on May 6.
Pastor Thad Spring, 46, and his wife, Jerilynn Spring, 45, both of Muskegon, Michigan, run together on a path on their church grounds in January. They both ran in the Team World Vision Global 6K here in March 2016 and plan to participate again this year. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Todd McInturf)

“We had a lot of people with strollers who walked and ran. We had younger kids who could walk the entire distance,” Thad says. The family impact really struck a chord with their congregation.

This year, All Shores will collaborate with other local churches, expecting to more than double the number of participants from last year. And to heighten the experience, they’re offering water tanks for people to carry at the halfway point.

“I think about the age of kids and the women that do this,” Nick says. “They have to get [to a water source] and then come back with gallons of water. It makes it tangible and real.”

All Shores has raised about $50,000 for clean water over the past three years between the 6K events and running the Grand Rapids marathon and half marathon with Team World Vision. And now on Saturday mornings, their group of runners gathers for devotions, a running or fundraising tip, and a training run together.

“We’ve created a running group and community of people who are reaching out to their friends for Christ,” says Thad.

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What you can do

  • Register as a host site for the Global 6K for Water on May 4, 2019, to provide life-changing clean water to one person in need. You’ll walk or run with the picture of the child receiving clean water through World Vision’s water projects.
  • Learn more about clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Join us in praying that more and more communities would have clean water access, and thank God for the access to clean water gained by this community.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift creates lasting change in a community.

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