I Heart Kids and Cows 5K Fun Run/Walk

Officer Chu of the Anchorage Police Department gives badges to volunteers (from left to right) Caleb Hamilton, Curtis Hamilton and Siua Kagel. (Photo by Nita Maiugoa)

Picture a hectic day at school and work. Think of the whining and the self-pity that often accompanies a “crummy day.”

Now, imagine life as a homeless 13-year-old. Changes your perspective, right?

UAA Student Activities hosted the I Heart Kids and Cows Fun Run/Walk on Saturday, where proceeds gathered will benefit homeless youth who seek refuge at Covenant House Alaska. Through a partnership with UAA Heifer International (hence the word “cows”), proceeds will also go toward their cause to end world hunger.

“What’s neat is that it was a group of students who put this on. It’s not done by any outside organizations. This is really a bunch of UAA students trying to make a difference,” said Jill Taylor, UAA Student Activities coordinator.

Kids cheered and jangled cowbells as “Shark Girl,” “Batman” and “The Joker” raced to the finish line. Lively music blared as UAA students dressed up as cows and other characters mingled. Posters of smiling kids and cows were everywhere.

But just off to the side was the booth for Covenant House Alaska with pamphlets about abused, homeless kids.

The two scenes hardly seemed to fit together.

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While UAA students were celebrating the success of the charity event, Sheila Parker, event coordinator for Covenant House Alaska couldn’t help but remember a homeless teenager, “Betty,” she once helped. Betty is now a successful college student because of the resources she found at Covenant House Alaska.

It makes one wonder. How many students like Betty are at UAA?

Last year, Covenant House Alaska served a total of 4,093 youth. They provided 25,042 meals for hungry kids. There are many success stories and charity events like this always helps with raising awareness.

“It is exciting to see young people from UAA who are really engaged in the community,” Parker said. “These students help support the youth that we serve and we really appreciate them for it.”