RGI 5K Fun Run | Sunday May 1st 9:00am| Fairweather Park, Medina
Educate a girl. Inspire a community. Transform a country.
Sophie Sharp, 2018 St. Thomas School alumni, and current senior at The Overlake School, is once again organizing the RGI 5K Fun Run to benefit Rwanda Girls Initiative (RGI). This is the fourth fun Fun Run that Sophie has planned. It will take place on Sunday, May 1 in Medina.
Sophie first came up with the idea for a fun run when she was in 8th grade at St. Thomas School. "We had to choose a cause we were passionate about and do a project around it." Sophie wanted to get away from the typical Power Point presentation and do something new and different. She decided to combine her passion for running with her passion for girls' education, and thus was born the RGI 5K Fun Run. The first run was a huge success raising over $25,000. It was "pretty cool," said Sophie.
Her success continued with two additional runs over the years and a total of $85,000 raised for RGI. She hopes to reach $120,000 after this year's event. Sophie credits St. Thomas School with developing the skills necessary to create and sustain her fun runs. "At St. Thomas School, I became very good at public speaking and learning how to advocate for myself. I also learned that I can make a difference and that I should step up and do something."
Sophie and her family have been long-time supporters of RGI, whose mission is to educate and empower girls in Rwanda to reach their highest potential. Founders Suzanne Sinegal McGill and Shalisan Foster (both STS alumni families) recognized that education is one of the most critical areas of empowerment for women. In collaboration with the Rwandan government and Gashora community, they established Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology (GGAST).
"We strive to cultivate inspired leaders with a love of learning and a sense of economic empowerment to strengthen their communities and foster Rwanda's growth . . . GGAST provides a rigorous college prep academic program, combined with leadership training and extra-curricular activities that fill our girls with confidence that they can pursue their dreams of university education and fulfilling and impactful vocations."
In May of 2017, Sophie and her mother, Nicolette, had the opportunity to visit GGAST to see the school and meet the girls they were supporting with fundraising efforts. While Sophie had been inspired by the girls from afar, spending time with them at their school motivated her to want to do even more. "I got to see all these amazing girls, and they work so hard and know they have been given an opportunity to go to high school. Many of them are now going to college in America and Europe!" Sharp said. "One girl got into all the Ivy League schools. They're just so passionate about what they do, and it makes me want to be passionate about what I do and how I can help."
You can support Sophie and RGI by running or walking at the event, or donating. Registration link: 2022 RGI 5K Fun Run (runsignup.com).