Vibha Dream Mile: “a few miles for a million dreams”
“Great, great,” and “simply amazing!” These were just a few of the phrases circulating on the cool morning of September 22, 2012, when the 14th Annual Vibha Dream Mile 10K/5K Run/5K Walk was hosted for the cause of underprivileged children.
Since 1998 when it was first started in Atlanta and now as a national event in several cities in the USA, the Dream Mile has become a powerful force for making a difference in the lives of children. The proceeds from the event bring education, healthcare, and eventually social upliftment to the underprivileged child in India. Part of the proceeds is also given to the local beneficiary (in Atlanta, to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta). The 2012 Dream Mile was no different. Over the weeks leading up to the trademark Vibha event, more than $132,000 was raised, enough to provide 6,500 children with a sound education and abundant facilities to truly bring about a positive impact. This year's Dream Mile moved from Georgia Tech, its previous location, to the campus of State Farm insurance in Johns Creek, GA.
As early as 5am, runners and volunteers of all ages and from all parts of town began to arrive. Soon after, the arena was packed with many bright faces—five-year-olds accompanying parents with a smile and children quivering with anticipation—all eager to win a trophy and fulfill some dreams. The fun-filled event served as an excellent getaway for many adults and youth and as a perfect occasion for all to make a difference.
Mike Bodker, Mayor of Johns Creek, with Consul General Ajit Kumar.
The beautiful day started off with the two running races, the Vensai Technologies 10K Run and the Datum Software 5K Run, followed by the Pyramid Consulting 5K Walk. Kicking off the event, the chief guest, Mayor of Johns Creek Mike Bodker talked about how important it is to be part of the community and how Vibha was doing exactly that: promoting both local and global child development. Personal motivation is the key to contributing, and he put across his own motivation on helping others: “At one point of time you have to realize that you yourself are part of something else... something bigger.” The Pyramid Consulting 5K Walk was flagged off by Mrs. Namitha Tirat, Executive Vice President of Pyramid Consulting, who also expressed her commitment to the community.
Fueled by the zeal and effort of its hundreds of volunteers, planning had begun almost six months before, from goals and procedures to publicity, fundraising, and registration. Event Coordinator Narsimha Rao Manekar explained, “I think, therefore I volunteer. Vibha showed me a path where I could join hands with similar minded people and multiply my efforts working towards the cause of helping underprivileged children. I enjoyed organizing the Dream Mile back in 2000, and it is an honor and privilege to coordinate the Dream Mile once again this year.” Neighborhood yard signs were posted and publicity went to various ethnicities, locales, and social media. Volunteer of the Year, Mr. Rama Riyali said, “I feel honored to be a part of an organization which includes so many selfless and untiring individuals who work relentlessly for the betterment of kids. Throughout my experiences, one saying by Swami Vivekananda always came to my mind: ‘Arise, awake; stop not until your goal is achieved.’”
This year's event included a new run: dedicated 5K runners could now take their sprinting to another level by participating in the Vensai Technologies 10K Run. Runners remarked on how well laid out the running course was. With the choice of 5K and 10K runs and a walk, more people could participate, putting the focus more on participation than seeking the prize. The 2012 event also featured electronic tracking sensors for each runner, thus increasing the accuracy of results, compared to the earlier manual recording methods. A Zumba flashmob by BollyZ and a Kids Carnival with face painting, crafts, and games added to the fun.
The prize distribution was graced by the Honorable Consul General of India Mr. Ajit Kumar, who praised the volunteers for their passion and commended Vibha and all involved for making a difference in the lives of thousands of children in India and the USA.
Results were tremendous. Of the 1600+ registrants of all backgrounds and ethnicities, 168 adults and children secured a trophy. In the 10K run, Steven Szilagyi scored as top male runner, while the top female winner was Tara Holt after a neck and neck competition. In a tight 5K race, Madhavi Golakoti was the female overall winner and in the male running category, Ryan Linnane was handed a well deserved trophy after a good, consistent showing. A similar high level of competition and caliber was also seen at the walking 5K: male winner was Aditya Patibandla, and female champion was Madhavi Yeduguri, both putting in immense effort to achieve their victories. A T-shirt design contest brought forward some young creative minds. Of all entries from local schools, K-12, the design by Elyjah Escho of Peachtree Ridge High School was chosen as top winner. For complete results list, please see www.dreammile.org/atlanta
The 14th Annual Vibha Dream Mile was a great success. As Pramod Sajja, President of Paramount Software Solutions, Dream Mile's title sponsor, said, “Let this be the Year of Change. It’s always simple things that change our lives. Join hands with Vibha in making dreams come true. I guarantee the satisfaction of helping someone in need is out of this world.” It's never too late! Anyone can help by donating to help reach the goal of $150,000: see http://wiki.vibha.org/Contribute_HTG., atlanta.vibha.org (upcoming entertaining fundraisers) and volunteer.vibha.org/signups/new
Website Bonus Feature:
Please note that the print and digital issues of this month's Khabar magazine contain a brief report of this event, whereas the website contains a more detailed report.
Photo Gallery – 2012 Dream Mile by Bytegraph Creations – 911 photos
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