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$100K raised in Vibha Dream Mile!

November 2010
$100K raised in Vibha Dream Mile!
Sept 18th, 2010 will be remembered as a day when the Greater Atlanta community rose to the challenge and raised over $100,000 for the cause of the underprivileged children. On a beautiful fall day, more than 1500 people participated in the 12th Annual DreamMile 5K Run/Walk that broke all previous event records.

Srinivas Vemulapalli, event coordinator, said "This year Vibha volunteers took up the challenge of doubling the participation and revenue. ? the community responded to the cause and joined hands to “do more”. ?We are glad that we are able to double our support to 5000 children.”

Sikshana, one of Vibha's premier projects in India was the main beneficiary of the event, while Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is the local beneficiary. Sikshana began in Bangalore, transforming public schools from a state of lethargy and neglect to one filled with excitement—a true place of learning. Focusing on teacher training, student motivation and community involvement, and with only $1000 per school per year, improvements have been significant. Vibha and others helped Sikshana grow from 3 schools to 400 schools in the last 6 years. Vibha tested the model’s replicability in Andhra Pradesh and organized a 3-day workshop inviting 21 organizations from 9 states to study the model. Plans are afoot to implement it in Gujarat, Maharashtra, and New Delhi. Mr. E.S. Ramamurthy, founder of Sikshana, and Ms.Keri Algood from Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta both spoke.

The day started at 4am for volunteers setting up the course, parking, food, drinks, etc. on site. By 8am registrations, children’s activity center, and booths were buzzing. Aarti Patel turned up the excitement with a warm-up routine. Mr. Narender Reddy, a long time patron of Vibha, kicked off the 5K Run sharply at 8.30am. Mr. Deepak Raghavan, founder of Manhattan Associates and a long term supporter did the honors for the 5K Walk.

Emcee Vindali Vartak kept the gathering on their toes with contagious enthusiasm and challenged and motivated the participants to collectively reach the target of $100,000. The target was achieved gradually as the prize distribution to the runners and the walkers progressed.

Winners were as follows: Run/Men - Lester Li (18:27 mins.) and Randy Long (19:05); Run/Women - Kathryn Foti (22:16) and Brook Godell (22:46); Walk/Men - Surender Mutyala (34:00) and Sundar Raman (35:25); Walk/Women - Padmala Malerrati (36:10) and Brianna. Mr. E.S. Ramamurthy presented prizes. Keshav Kumaran of Vibha Atlanta thanked sponsors, participants, community organizations, and volunteers. The Sumathi Mahajan Volunteer of the Year award was given to Rohit Khumbar.

At Vibha it is all about children. It is about the child who dreams of transforming from a child laborer to a school kid, learning and looking forward to breaking the cycle of poverty. It is about the child in whose school and class the environment is so improved and exciting that she looks forward to active learning. And it was truly inspiring to see hundreds of Atlantans share this dream and run the DreamMile.

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