Youth join the masses in 30th ‘Walk for the Red’
Four-year-old Dariama Odoshi woke up early to walk along the Beach Road pathway with her brother, Michael, 9, and cousin, Abaraham, 5, as a part of the 30th Annual Red Cross “Walk for Red” at the Civic Center in Susupe last Saturday.
As the youngest among the thousands of people who took part in the event, their mother, Alfreda, told Saipan Tribune that they take part in the walk every year because “I want them to know how to give back to the community.”
“This is one small way for them to give back,” she added. “It is also good for their health so they should start exercising too to lessen the disease that is so common now in the community.”
Many young members of the island community were in strong attendance as several private and public schools coordinated their peers’ participation. Walkers donned this year’s navy blue walkathon shirt.
Aid stations were set up along the stretch from Beach Road toward Garapan, manned by volunteers who provided water, sports drinks, fruits, and giveaways to participants.
The turnout drew praise from American Red Cross-NMI Chapter executive director John Hirsch.
“This morning there were a lot of people. It is great to see so many people come out early to support a great cause like the Red Cross,” he said. “We are just so grateful for everyone in the community, all volunteers, all our donors of course, all of our business partners, and all of our community partners for supporting us.”
Saturday’s event also marked the organization’s 30th anniversary. He added, “This year we amped up our carnival prizes and games. We got some additional immunization and flu shot booths as well as blood sugar checks and others booths set up. We even have Zumba. The weather is perfect, too.”
Another official addressed the crowd, saying, “Your support goes a long away. Your support equals hope.”
Many government agencies, businesses, and organizations set up information booths and healthy food demonstrations as well.
Robert Suzuki Jr. with the Youth Empowerment Alliance for Health said, “the community should have more events like this and more outreach to educate the community on the different services we offer.”
The past two walkathons drew more than 2,000 participants. The same involvement, if not more, was prevalent at last weekend’s event.
Garapan Elementary School AmeriCorps tutor Edna Nisola explained that she takes part in the event every year to make a difference.
She added, “It is so great that people are coming here to volunteer and raise money for the American Red Cross.”