By Megan Black
Canadian Joe Rios has combined his passion for running and charity, raising over $5,000 to empower over 1000 Nicaraguan children with educational packages. Coming from a long line of diabetes and as a former overweight asthmatic, Joe originally pursued running as a health pursuit. Soon after, Joe set out to run three marathons to raise funds and awareness for Team Diabetes, saying, “I wanted to prove not only that I could do the marathons, but that I could prove to others that if you are passionate and have purpose then you can as well”. Joe has since transformed his life through running, notably running marathon on every continent (raising $50,000 along the way), a 100km ultra-marathon and even a Polar Bear dash in -25C.
In 2010, a life-changing service trip to Nicaragua with SchoolBOX to build a local school catapulted Joe’s charitable journey into full effect. Specifically, Joe recalls meeting a grateful local who created a personal connection to his work, “it opened my eyes to power and impact of donating your time”. Reflecting back on his experience, Joe stresses the importance of finding a personal connection to a cause. Cultivating an authentic purpose allows you to overcome adversity and reach amazing heights. Joe states, “there’s no easy fundraising but finding a personal pull to a cause is the key to success”.
SchoolBOX is a non-profit that provides simple, cost-effective programs for Nicaraguan children to earn a basic education. Primary school dropout rates are as high as fifty-percent, largely due to the lack of school supplies. Through a series of programs, SchoolBOX provides basic educational infrastructure, school supplies and recreational programs.