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Publication Date: Friday, March 09, 2001

From Mountain View to Zimbabwe: runners aim to help African orphans From Mountain View to Zimbabwe: runners aim to help African orphans (March 09, 2001)

By Kate Wakerly

While St. Joseph Parish celebrates its centennial on March 25, the school's students will be observing the event with a special and meaningful event, too.

The school, at 1120 Miramonte Ave., will host its second annual Cross Country Running Invitational for runners of all ages and ability levels, in order to raise funds for other children halfway around the world.

Spearheaded by PE teacher and running enthusiast Ellen Clark and her eighth graders, the run aims to raise over $5,000 to aid children at the Makumbi Children's Home in Zimbabwe, kids who have been orphaned by the raging AIDS epidemic in Africa.

Clark, whose son worked at a mission in Zimbabwe after graduating from Notre Dame, has kept up ties with the staff at Makumbi, even sending them a disposable camera so she could get photos of the home's children.

"These are the lucky ones," she says fondly, looking over photos of the thin but smiling orphans who have housing, food, and an education, thanks to the Makumbi home and its supporters. "They're being taken care of."

The Zimbabwe Department of Social Welfare supports the home, but can only contribute 10 percent of the overall costs, Clark notes. "The rest of the money has to come from fundraising."

The need is urgent and severe, Clark notes. Over 160,000 children and adults died in 1999 due to the AIDS epidemic in South Africa, and estimates are that 900,000 children have been orphaned as a result. One quarter of the adult population of Zimbabwe has the AIDS virus, Clark noted.

Besides raising awareness and compassion for the children of Africa, the race is another way to build community and bring athletes together. Among local runners helping in the effort is Eric Chaves, a senior at St. Francis and the most accomplished cross-country runner the school has ever seen, Clark notes. He was undefeated in the 2000 cross-country season in the West Catholic Athletic league and has won numerous additional honors, placing second at the State Cross Country Championships. He'll be firing the starting gun for the St. Joseph race.

Another accomplished runner, Ruth Graham, daughter of John and Gene Graham, the music teacher at St. Joseph's, will be on hand to present the awards to girls at the upcoming race. Ruth, a sophomore at Gunn, won the CCS Division II Cross Country Championship this past fall.

And Yacanex Posadas, a junior at St. Lawrence Academy coached by Will Clark, Ellen's son, will give out awards to the boys. Yacanex was the top CCS finisher for Division V at the recent state meet.

Action begins on March 25 at St. Joseph's with the 12:30 p.m. race for pre-kindergartners and kindergartners, and continues through the afternoon with races for each age group up to high schoolers and adults at 3:30 p.m. The registration fee of $5 goes 100 percent to benefit the Makumbi Children's Home. Runners can register in advance or on race day. Volunteers for race day, donations of supplies for the race, and funds for the Zimbabwe orphans are welcome.

Contact Ellen Clark at 156 Marvin Ave., Los Altos 94022, phone (650) 948-8029, or e-mail

As St. Joseph 8th grader Audrey Barden put it, writing in the race program book, "Think about it. Is $5 really a lot to ask when the people in Zimbabwe have hardly anything?"

Sometimes it's hard to cope with success

Is there such a thing as too much success?

The Friends of the Mountain View Public Library may be experiencing just that happy condition. Friends President Roy Minor reports that due to the popularity of their quarterly book sales and the library's Lobby Shop, the group is in dire need of more volunteers to help staff these projects. If you can help, contact Minor at (650) 968-5168.

There's nothing like backing a winner!

Quota Club honors district governor

Quota International of Mountain View members took time out from their service work to honor club member Melba Williams-Swanson with a tea in the home of Lauretta Cappiello. Mrs. Williams-Swanson currently serves as governor of Quota's 12th district, covering the area from San Francisco to Monterey.

The organization is dedicated to helping deaf and hearing-impaired people and disadvantaged women and children. Locally, the Mountain View Quota club supports El Camino Hospital's Infant Hearing Screening Program, the Community Health Awareness Council, the Support Network for Battered Women and other good works, as well as offering a college scholarship to a graduating student of the California School for the Deaf in Fremont.

Anyone who'd like more information on Quota can call Vivian Schatz at (650) 969-8499.

The line is forming for MV spring parade

Despite all that rain, spring really is just around the corner, and that means groups are getting ready for the city's 23rd annual spring parade down Castro Street. This year's theme is "Put on a happy face," and the action starts at noon on Saturday, April 28.

The popular family event is followed by festivities in Pioneer Park, with entertainment, children's carnival games, a DJ, and food booths. Community groups, schools, neighborhoods, entertainers, and individuals with interesting vehicles are encouraged to participate. Application deadline is April 6. For an application, contact the city's Recreation Division at (650) 903-6331.

Up for honors by The Women's Fund

Congratulations to Rosiland Bivings and Rosemary Stasek, nominated for the 2001 Women of Achievement award of The Women's Fund. Bivings and Stasek were among 72 nominees honored last week at the reception at Nordstrom's at Valley Fair, emceed by KRON-TV's Ysabel Duron.

Winners of the award will be named at a March 28 dinner at the Fairmont in San Jose. The Women's Fund is a nonprofit that recognizes women's accomplishments and helps promote achievement by women and girls. Bivings was nominated in the sports category, while Stasek was nominated as an elected public official. 


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