The EE kids have been very busy in the new year, and I’m going to tell you all about it. But I wanted to start off with the most important thing we did in the first quarter.
As you all know, EE is not about winning races. We’re all about education, and every EE kid understands that. That said, though, sometimes kids who grow up in San Bernardino have few positive role models and find it difficult to visualize themselves breaking out of that environment and living the American dream. What we hope to do is inspire the younger of our kids to follow in the footsteps of our three college graduates and the twelve in college right now.
Nik Keller (UCSD 2013) and Marlene Samano (UCSD 2015) were two EE kids born and raised in that limiting world. The younger EE kids see these two as living proof that, if you overcome your fear, make a firm commitment and have EE at your back, anything is possible.
Last weekend we took 10 of our high school students to San Diego for a day of immersion into a different life. Nik and Marlene hosted them on a grand tour of the UCSD campus. During the day the two EE veterans spoke powerfully about the struggles and the rewards. And you could see the gradual shift in each kid’s thinking as he/she realized…Yes, I could do this.
Successful businessman Nik talking about how EE and college changed his life
Leading the way to the university library
Marlene sharing her experiences
And then, of course, we took them to the
beach…and that sealed the deal!
In other news:
We kicked off 2018 with our annual Swimathon/Runathon. As some of you may remember from the early days, we used to do this event as a fundraiser, with the kids calling volunteers for sponsorship for their swim or run. It was actually less fundraising and more teaching communication skills. Now, the group has grown too large to continue the calling so we use the event to teach goal setting and working to achieve their goals. And it’s working. The kids have learned to set challenging goals and they work very hard to exceed expectations.
So many kids we had to
break them into three groups.
Mandatory water stop on the run
Father Meli and
And what’s a Runathon without a little post-race
Next up was a very special event for EE: the Highland 5K/10K/Half Marathon which was our very first event when we started back in 2001. Twelve kids participated that year. This year we had 63 racers with a whole bunch of podium finishes. Special congratulations go to two EE performers:
Raul Andrade (15) won the 15–19 age group in his first half marathon
Jose Olivares (11, far right) running his first
10K, missed the turnaround
On the left is Richard, who also did his first
In early February the kids were a strong presence in a very competitive race, the Palm Desert 5K/Half Marathon.
Again, EE dominated the podium which included a couple of performances of note:
Andrew Arellanos (16) completed his first half marathon and won the 15-19 age group
Last minute tips for Andrew from the Coach
And get this: Nine-year-old Richard
Olivares placed 6th OVERALL in the 5K!
We’re off to a very exciting 2018 and, as always, we thank you for your invaluable support.