Seventy or so runners, walkers, and even a skateboarder, lined up Wednesday for the first GirlUp 5k fun run at the Mark Hatfield trailhead west of Hood River.
“We’re running or walking for girls education in India. People are either pledging or giving donations today,” said GirlUp chapter founder Eva Jones, a junior at Hood River Valley High School.
The Hood River 5k had a $1,000 initial goal but had raised $9,000 before organizer Teddy Parkinson said “ready, set go” on Wednesday. (The figure includes the chapter share of a $100,000 matching grant from Anu Jain of India, who serves on the global GirlsUp board.)
Parkinson and Lucy Hennessy, both sophomores, spearheaded the event.
Hood River is the global GirlUp fundraising leader, with $22,000 so far this year from a variety of events. With $13,500 raised in 2017-18, the chapter was also last year’s global leader, according to Colleen Jones, Eva’s mother.
Most of the funds are from the 5K and the chapter’s two other anchor events: Coffee sales and movie nights. Eva started the chapter in March 2017 and attended a GirlUp Summit in 2018.
Eva said, “we’re a little late, most people have already ran theirs (5k). We wanted to get done with testing so we can focus.”
“Teddy and Lucy worked so hard on this,” Eva said. “They did this event all by themselves. I needed help and they said ‘I’ll do it,’ and other than asking me to help them with access to the social media page, they did this amazing event.”
Funds raised will support a United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) program that helps girls in the Rajasthan region of India continue their education, prevent early marriage and learn vocational skills to earn an income, accoding to the GirlUp website. UNFPA also educates girls and women on important health issues to raise awareness of and access to public services available to them. GirlUp’s goal is to enroll 2,000 more girls in India.