On April 12, 51 participants laced up their running shoes for the 2nd annual Hope 5k, one of several Cairn initiatives to raise awareness and support for anti-human trafficking organizations locally and internationally.
In the past two years, the Hope 5k has raised approximately $1500 to fight human trafficking. Last year, the event partnered with Bombay Teen Challenge, the Mumbai-based organization with which Cairn’s award-winning Enactus team partnered in 2012. This year, proceeds went to LOVE146, an international human rights organization working to end child trafficking and exploitation through survivor care, prevention education, professional training, and empowering movement.
After a pre-race call to action against human trafficking by Terri Dewey, Resident Director of Cairn’s Manor Residence Halls, participants walked or ran the 3.1-mile looped route across campus. Hosted by the Penndel Resident Life team, the race serves as an opportunity for students to engage in an active lifestyle, while raising awareness for LOVE146 and similar organizations. Complimentary t-shirts, raffles, and post-race goodies aside, this commitment to a global cause is the biggest motivation for student participation.
“The race is definitely a part of helping students become more aware of local and global issues, and human trafficking has really gotten the attention of students on campus,” says Tara Munro, a Resident Assistant at the Penndel Apartments and co-planner of the event. “The emphasis of Resident Life is community—we really want to reach out to the community and develop our own community. [The Hope 5k] connects the two: We as students and residents can get involved in something that connects us as a community and with issues in our very local community.”
In addition to the Hope 5k, several other campus events have focused on anti-human trafficking efforts this year alone. The Office of Student Life recently hosted a viewing of the film “Call + Response,” a documentary supporting human rights activism against human trafficking and slavery on a community level. Last December, Enactus hosted its annual Hope. Beauty. Fashion. sale, supporting small businesses that provide alternatives for self-support to those at risk of human trafficking or slavery. On April 24th, Cairn’s Social Work organization, Chi Beta Sigma, will continue its longstanding partnership with International Justice Mission through its Compassion show – an event focusing on the local issue of human trafficking in Bucks County.
“We definitely plan to continue with this cause,” says Munro. “Next year, we’re hoping for more participation from students, but we’re also planning to open [the Hope 5k] up to the community. We’re hearing stories of girls with college degrees winding up in human trafficking situations—women who have these crazy experiences, and they turn out to be our neighbors, right here in Bucks County. If someone who is just like me can wind up in a situation like that, how can we not care?”
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