Norwalk Charter School Races to Save Children’s Lives

School Principal Matthew Nittoly gets ready to take the ceremonial lap to start off the relay. Contributed photo
School Principal Matthew Nittoly gets ready to take the ceremonial lap to start off the relay. Contributed photo
On Wednesday, students from Side By Side Charter School took part in Save the Children's "World Marathon Challenge," a global relay in which teams of children from around the world band together throughout the month of October to complete a full marathon distance of 26.2 miles. 

In Norwalk, students raced one another to raise funds and awareness for Save the Children’s programs focused on child survival and well-being.  

“Every child in the United States and around the globe deserves the very best chance to live a bright future, but not every child gets this chance, the chance to survive and thrive,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children in a release from Save the Children. “Achieving this vision is not a sprint, but a marathon – a world marathon.”

Erin Lichtenstein, a fourth-grade teacher at Side By Side Charter School, said that participating in the World Marathon Challenge meshed perfectly with the school's mission of social justice.

“Our inherent belief is that all children deserve equal opportunities and that every voice deserves to be heard. When approached about the World Marathon Challenge, I saw the opportunity as a natural fit to our school’s mission and to our students’ commitment to sharing their voices,” Lichtenstein said about the school, which was founded by six public school teachers in 1997.

Fifty-thousand kids in 67 countries around the world are taking the World Marathon Challenge. In the United States alone, nearly 12,000 kids are lacing up their sneakers and racing to the finish line. Relay races are being held throughout this month worldwide, with hundreds of teams running simultaneously on Oct. 23, a global day of action.

During Wednesday's race in Norwalk, 44 Side By Side Charter School students raced to raise $450 toward a combined U.S. fundraising goal of $100,000, and they finished the marathon relay with a time of 2 hours, 49 minutes, and 39 seconds. 

The funds raised at each race will be used by Save the Children to provide child-focused interventions, ranging from offering newborn care advice to diagnosing and treating preventable diseases like diarrhea, pneumonia and malaria.

In addition to running in the race, students across America will be advocates for other kids by urging Congress to protect programs that help children in the United States and around the world survive and thrive. At some relay race events, including the Side By Side Charter School event in Norwalk, kids can sign their name to a World Marathon Challenge-themed postcard and/or T-shirts.  

Save the Children will present Side By Side Charter School’s signed items to U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn) toward the end of October.

To sponsor a school or club, go to the World Marathon Challenge website.


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