Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shameless self promotion, sort of.

It had to be over a year ago, probably closer to 2, if not more, when my daughter first came to me and said that she read this article in a running magazine about a guy who is trying to help the poverty stricken youth of Kibera, Kenya through a program of running. His name is Frank Murithi. She then said she intended to do a documentary about him and his efforts.

I wasn't surprised at all that she felt compassion for this man and his mission. She was a track and field athlete in college and she's a caring soul. I was a bit surprised that she said she was going to do a documentary, mainly because she doesn't own a camera that cost more than $85 and she has had no training what so ever in the art of film making. In fact, the still photos she takes aren't all that impressive. Those facts would stop a lesser woman, but not Erin.

I've talked with her about this project every step of the way. I would be there as a listener as she bounced this idea and that off me. Let me be clear, I had no good ideas to suggest, but I sure supported her. It was at a very early stage in her dream when she said, "So Dad, do you want to rent a video camera and come to Kenya with me?" That's how raw this idea of hers was. Her obstacles at the beginning were many. She knew nothing of film making. Did not know this guy in Kenya who was doing this wonderful work. She didn't know anyone who could film a documentary, she had no money to zip off to Kenya and had no idea at all of where to start this process. Other than that, she was feeling pretty good about it.

I forgot to mention, Erin has a full time job at ONE, the grass roots advocacy and campaigning organization that fights extreme poverty and preventable diseases particularly in Africa. She is ONE's field manager for college and young adult outreach . She travels a good part of eight months a year, responsible for managing ONE's organizing efforts on college and university campuses across the United States. My point being, if anyone can think to herself, "I think I'm doing my part to make the world a better place..." I think she can.

But that's not enough. Someone once said, " Story telling is the most powerful way to insert ideas into the world." Erin has a story to tell.

Using her impressive network, she has contacted Frank Murithi and has talked with him at length many times via phone and skype. She told him of her idea and as you can imagine he is all for it. Frank is a track and field coach who is fighting to overcome crime, disease and poverty that is devastating the youth of Kibera by using one of Kenya's sacred traditions, running. By providing discipline and structure that normal Kibera kids don't get he is hoping to make a difference. My daughter says, "I challenge anyone who speaks to Frank about his dream of taking one of his Kibera athletes to the Olympics, to somehow restrain themselves from selling their home to help make that happen."

Her project has a long way to go but she is moving along. She has been introduced to a documentary filmmaker named Mark Moskowitz who has been doing his thing for over 30 years. He has filmed heads of state, campaigns and has directed numerous issue oriented pieces nationally and internationally. He's produced shows for PBS and has one various national and international awards. They have had many meetings on her idea and he is very supportive and all in.

The world record holder in the marathon is from Kenya, and she is in the process of setting up a meeting with him and other runners when they come to Boston this month. She has talked with their coach and he believes they will love to support her in this project anyway they can.

And the most confusing part of this process is over. She has just recently set up a Fiscal Sponsorship through Fractured Atlas, which is a non-profit organization that helps artists raise money from charitable donations.

If you would like to be a supporter of Frank Muriti's dream or my daughters efforts to chronicle them, you can donate here at Fiscal Sponsorship or read more about the project here on her blog.

Thank you for reading this far


Jerral Miles said...

Wow! I like Erin. I like Erin's way of seeing the world... and her way of finding ways to make it better. Wow! Thanks. I'm going right to the Donation page.

Karen said...

You've raised a fine young woman, Mark. What an inspirational project...

Denise at Autumn Sky said...

That is impressive. I love that kind of vision and enthusiasm. We have a young lady like that in our family whose vision is improving the environment. That kind of energy is inspiring. You should be proud of her:-)

SueAnn said...

I like it...both Erin and Frank have my congrats! I visited the site and donated. I am all for this project. Keep me posted.

beth said...

you've raised an amazing to check out the site now !!

dcpeg said...

Now THIS qualifies as awesome! Erin sounds a bit like a much younger me: out to make the world a better place. It's hard work, but she's gonna leave a huge, positive mark on a lot of lives. She's got my support!

Marilyn said...

I am impressed at your daughters tenacity. Good for her. I will come back and read her blog soon.

momto8 said...

what a beautiful example of kindness to others! You heart must be joyful to have her as your daughter.