Monday, August 2, 2010
My Letter to St. Gerard Catholic High School
My next run will be to raise money to fight childhood obesity in San Antonio. There is a school here in town called St. Gerard. It is a good school in a strong community of hard-working, low-income, mostly Hispanic people. They have no cafeteria. They can't afford to build one. So they get their food catered from fast food restaurants. This is unacceptable. I want to help raise money to build them a cafeteria! The following is a proposal letter I wrote to the principal of the school:
[To the principal of St. Gerard Catholic High School in San Antonio]
My name is Gerard Martinez. I am a 24 year-old law school student at Texas Tech University and a San Antonio native. I am also a runner and I'm interested in running on behalf of St. Gerard Catholic High School. My sister, Rebecca Martinez, will be attending St. Gerard this coming fall as a freshman. I'd like to tell you a bit about myself.
Running is a passion of mine. Just two years ago, I was sedentary. I was overweight and had never run a mile before. When my aunt passed away due to complications arising from diabetes, I decided to make some changes in my life. I started paying careful attention to what I ate. I made smart, healthy food choices, and most importantly, I started exercising. Eventually, I started running greater and greater distances. Over the course of two years, I lost 180 pounds. In 2009, I ran my first marathon here in San Antonio, and then, a week later, I ran my first ultramarathon. I attribute my success to eating right and incorporating exercise into my daily routine. I believe in the power of a balanced diet and in maintaining an active lifestyle. I am very passionate about fighting childhood obesity.
As a child, I didn't have good role models for making healthy eating choices. Today, kids are bombarded with advertisements for fast food. As a society, we seem to be promoting unhealthy lifestyles. However, I think St. Gerard is in a perfect position to be able to counter those social messages and teach its students that there are better, healthier alternatives.
My proposal is this: to raise money for St. Gerard Catholic School. This money is to be used for building a cafeteria for the school, so that more control can be exercised over the ingredients put into the students' lunches. This will be a long-term project, but I think it is doable. On October 31, 2010, I will be running 100 miles, without stopping, in a race called the Cactus Rose 100. This ultramarathon is held every year in Bandera, Texas. It is a rugged trail run that takes 36 hours to complete. The runners start in the morning and run all day and all night and into the next day. I have already signed up to do the race and have begun training. I want to run in the name of and on behalf of St. Gerard. However, this is to be a community effort. If you approve this project, I would like to give a presentation at the school to all the students, parents, faculty, and community members who would be interested in donating to the cause. I would like to solicit for donations from the school and parish community. I would also like to ask local businesses for donations for my run.
I believe this is a wonderful opportunity to truly make a difference in these kids' lives. I don't want any of them to have to go through what I went through. Obesity in San Antonio is a severe problem that relates to so many serious health risks. Your students, and all future students of St. Gerard Catholic High School, deserve a better, healthier future.