Popsicles for Nepal Challenge

The news from Nepal is devastating. More than 7,000 people have been killed in the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck on April 25th, and thousands are still missing. Having been to Nepal and spent time reveling in the warmth and beauty of this special country, it’s particularly heartbreaking to see what has happened. That’s why I wanted to do something to help.

Photo of monks in the Thamel area of Kathmandu

The friendly faces of Nepal…monks having tea in the Thamel area of Kathmandu. This was taken during my visit there, long before the earthquake.

Since I’m not related to the Rockefellers or the Bill Gates Family, I had to focus on a more homespun approach. That’s when the “Popsicles for Nepal Challenge” popped into my head.

It started with our Roosevelt Elementary School Running Club. I simply brought four boxes of healthy’ish Popsicles to practice last week, emailed the kids’ parents in advance, then “sold” the Popsicles after practice on a donation basis. I told them that ANY amount was welcome, and if some kids didn’t bring money, I donated for them. This little running club (and their parents) knocked my socks off with their compassion, generosity, and their desire to help the people of Nepal. In less than 10 minutes, we raised nearly $200 for Direct Relief (www.directrelief.org), a humanitarian aid organization based here in Santa Barbara, ranked #1 on the Top 10 List of charities.


After starting the Popsicles for Nepal Challenge, our Roosevelt Running Club then challenged the Kids Corner Coyotes, another team I help coach on Saturdays. I have goosebumps as I type this….drumroll please…the Coyotes raised a whopping $420 for Direct Relief, thanks to one parent who doubled the kids’ efforts through his company’s matching contributions program. Thank you Kevin! And the topper? He also just matched our Roosevelt Running Club (and then some), so our combined efforts come to over $900–all in 10 minutes time–seriously. The best part of this whole process is showing the kids that small acts of kindness, when combined with others’ small acts of kindness, can turn into something much bigger.

Kids Corner CoyotesPhoto of Kids Corner Coyotes

The Coyotes have now challenged the Santa Barbara Track Club via Facebook and I’ve also challenged the Moms in Motion Running Team, as well as several friend’s and family’s hiking/running/workout groups here, and in different parts of the country. The ball is rolling!

Two hundred dollars (or even $20) here or there may not seem like a lot, but when sending resources to a country that had little to begin with, please know this money will go a long, long way. And Nepal needs A LOT right now.

This challenge takes very little effort. Simply bring some popsicles to your next practice or gathering and see how much people will donate in exchange for a cool, tasty treat. Popsicles are especially refreshing after a good workout! I hope whoever is reading my blog right now will take this challenge, then challenge another group (Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, book groups, cycling or triathlon groups, theater or dance groups, church groups, people in your office…the list goes on and on). Tweet it, post it on Facebook, and share this simple idea. Together let’s take a small idea and make a big difference in helping get the fabulous people of Nepal back on their feet again.

Photo of prayer flags in Kathmandu, NepalPhoto of the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal

Nepal3MonkeyTempleNepal4PedicabPhoto of refridgerators being delivered in Kathmandu. Nepal

#PopsiclesForNepalChallenge #HomespunPhilanthropy #RunnersMakingADifference #PeopleHelpingPeople #KidsRock

Thanks for considering! Please let me know if you take the challenge. I’d love to celebrate your effort! xo

PS: Some of you may know that my husband, Jeffrey, is a professional photographer. He is also raising money for Direct Relief by selling one of his photographs of Nepal on his Facebook page. Here’s the link if you’re interested: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Jeffrey-Aaronson/108650762509168

UPDATE: This fabulous 3-person team in Hood River, OR took the Popsicles for Nepal Challenge and raised $124 for Direct Relief, taking us over the $1K mark. Way to go Tate, Abby and Anna!


Celebrating Momentum

It has been an exciting time of momentum around here. You know, when things suddenly start coming together for you and many of those special peeps around you? When you begin to see some of your  “I think I cans” turn into exhilarating moments of, “Holy crap, I did it!”

is the energy and force
that builds literal momentum of
the human soul and mind.”
~Bryant H. McGill

Last weekend was filled with multiple exclamation points as many of my friends and I participated in the Gaucho Gallop, a local 5K put on by the University of California on its beautiful Santa Barbara campus.

We were all looking forward to participating in this race for a variety of reasons, but when we woke up on Saturday morning, we were greeted with less than ideal conditions. Can you say cold, blustery wind? What’s a fair weather Californian to do? And we’re not talking just a little breeze. It was the kind of wind that had sponsors bungee’ing down their tents so they wouldn’t fly away.

Regardless of Mother Nature’s extra little test, it was a GORGEOUS morning filled with fun, friendship and fabulous competition. Most exciting was kicking off the spring season of Kids Corner Coyotes, a youth running club I coach with Nash Jimenez. It’s impossible not to be filled with joy when being surrounded by so many eager young faces falling head over heels for the sport we all love so much.


Coyote kiddos getting ready to race the Kids 1k

Doubly exciting was seeing so many of our Roosevelt Running Club families participate in the 5K race. They didn’t just participate either, they ROCKED the course. One of my 8-year old runners (#52) finished in a blistering 23:05 (7:26), and each of these other rock star runners pushed themselves way beyond their comfort zones, and ran terrific races too! I was especially excited for my daughter (#245), who took 10 MINUTES off her last 5K finishing time. EPIC! #proudmamamoment. Thank you Stella for being her awesome running partner!


Some of our Roosevelt Running Club members celebrating their hard work after the 5K race.

My race was about redeeming myself. You might remember the last race I ran was less than stellar; I didn’t “race” race and it left a hollow, disappointing feeling in my gut. I didn’t want to let myself down again so this time I woke up with fire in my belly, ready to leave it all on the course.

And that’s exactly what I did. I ran the fastest 5K I’ve ever run, despite the wind, finishing in 23:30 (7:34 pace). I have to try to keep up with #52, after all! Most exciting? This time I didn’t finish 6 minutes behind my closest GP competitor. I finished 6 seconds behind her. I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I’m slowly building momentum, inching closer to where I believe I can be, knowing I still have A LOT of work to do.

Another highlight was seeing one of my Roosevelt moms beaming after the race. She was riding high on sweet momentum as she knocked off even more time from her finishing goal. Way to go, Debbie!! I’m so happy for you, and proud of you!! Debbie started running again because she was so inspired by what her boys were doing (yep #52 is her speedy son, and her older son is blistering fast too). Now, not only are her boys inspiring us all, she is too (especially me)!

The topper to all this was being surrounded by a gaggle of happy, healthy, motivated people. Runners are nothing but a bundle of positive energy. After all, optimism is the fuel that keeps us going! Momentum is its sweet, electrifying byproduct.

Speaking of sweet momentum, I have one last tidbit to share with you… several weeks ago a writer contacted me wanting to do a story about the running program my husband and I started at my daughter’s elementary school, The Roosevelt Running Club. Needless to say, I was bowled over by his interest in our program, and filled with gratitude for all the people that have, and continue to, make this program what it is. This kind of magic can only happen with the support of parents and athletes who want to pay it forward for the next generation of runners.

Here’s a link to the story if you are interested in seeing what we’re up to: http://presidiosports.com/2014/04/aaronson-establishes-roosevelt-running-club/ (or click on the photo below).

Presidio Sports Sports Figure of the Month













So tell me, as spring heads quickly toward summer, are you starting to feel momentum with your running? Are your feet being lifted a little higher and faster from the power of your fabulous running community? What’s your story?