'The Endeleo Project' Founder Going the Extra 140.6 Miles to Close the Opportunity Gap

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Philadelphia non-profit founder David Hersh will compete in the Challenge Atlantic City Ironman-distance triathlon in June to help increase access to educational opportunities for under-served children locally and around the world.

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I wanted this race to reflect the scale of our goals and the level of sacrifice and commitment our partners are making to help children every day. So it had to be big.

Most people consider completing a marathon to be a significant challenge. On June 29th in Atlantic City, David Hersh will be attempting to complete one after swimming 2.4 miles and cycling 112. The effort is part of a campaign launched by The Endeleo Project, a non-profit Hersh founded with a law school colleague to increase access to educational opportunities for under-served populations around the world.

"Endurance races are a good way to raise awareness about the great work our partner organizations are doing," said Hersh. "I wanted this race to reflect the scale of our goals and the level of sacrifice and commitment our partners are making to help children every day. So it had to be big."

The Endeleo Project, which supports partners serving disadvantaged populations from Philadelphia to Kenya, certainly has big ambitions. The current campaign will help fund education projects for each of the organization’s partners. For example, The Endeleo Project hopes to finance after-school and back-to-school programs in northwest Philadelphia, the purchase of farm land for subsistence farming and vocational education in rural Kenya, and supplemental schooling programs in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

The goal is not just financial, however. “In a way, we are trying to change the way people see the world. We learn so much of the negative side: crime, poverty, war, disasters. We rarely learn about the positive, hopeful stories of great people doing great things for others. What’s more uplifting and hopeful than people devoting their lives to ensuring that disadvantaged children have brighter futures? How different might we feel about the world if these were the stories that we saw every day?”

To make the connection between his organization’s goals and his desire to test his own limits, Hersh needed to find the right race. He found a perfect match in Challenge Atlantic City and its race director, Robert Vigorito. Says Hersh, “Bob was supportive from the beginning. He and the Challenge Family really seem to get what it’s all about. Success as a charity and success as a triathlete is about dreaming big and making the sacrifices necessary to turn those dreams into reality.”

Dreaming big comes easy to Hersh, but is he hoping he does not have to do it alone. Challenge Atlantic City has reserved ten race slots for The Endeleo Project and Hersh is working to recruit teammates. “I am not the only one willing to go to great lengths for something I believe in. Hopefully we can provide a platform for others who are similarly inspired.”

To view a video about the campaign and The Endeleo Project's partners, visit the campaign page. For general information, visit Endeleo on the web at http://www.endeleoproject.org, on Twitter at @endeleoproject, or on Facebook.You can also view their You Tube videos.

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David Hersh
since: 08/2009
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