How One Class Helped Raise $10,000

*written by Kari Brookins, 2nd grade teacher at North Heights Christian Academy

Last year, we went through Bob Goff’s Love Does devotional for kids in my 2nd grade class. Bob has some awesome stories about loving Jesus and impacting other people all around the world. After a couple months of reading these stories, my class started talking about how, “Bob has such a cool life. I want to be like Bob.” In January when I was writing my 2023 goals, I felt compelled to reach out to Venture, a local organization that helps the poorest of the poor and helps stop human trafficking. The people at Venture loved my idea of getting my class to help me fundraise and using my love of obstacle-course racing to help kids.

My class loved the idea too, and we talked about what our goal should be for money to raise. An ambitious student shouted out $10,000!! I tried to explain to them that normally when people raise money for a race, it’s between $500-$1000. But they persisted, and more started chiming in that our goal should be $10,000. Faith like a child is a powerful thing, and 10k is nothing to God, so I finally wrote it down as our goal. 

We got to work telling people about our mission, and I got to work training for these races. Now if you don’t know what obstacle races are, they are like running races but off the road through mud, water, and lots of fun obstacles. You get to do things like climb over walls, crawl under barbed wire, carry heavy pails filled with rocks up and down mountains, and throw spears! It’s pretty awesome! To earn the Spartan Trifecta, you need to run a 5k sprint, 10k super, and 21k Beast race all in the same calendar year. 

In February, I ran the 10k in Arizona. It was fun to leave winter behind and run through river beds and around cactus. In April, I ran the 5k in San Diego and ended up with staph infection from the mud water. At this point, our fundraising was going well but not as great as I would have liked. We had raised about $1,500. One of my students had even given her own money she had been saving to go to Great Wolf Lodge. I sent out support letters to everyone I could think of, and more support started coming in. At the end of August, I flew to San Francisco with my family to run the Beast! 

The Beast race was near San Jose, California, which is very different terrain than Minnesota. The morning of the race started out foggy, but I knew there were mountains behind the fog. The terrain was very uneven, but the first hour of my race, I was feeling pretty good. Then it started to warm up and hills started to climb. I was ready for some mud or water obstacles, but none came. I foolishly assumed that at some point the course would have to loop around and eventually I’d hear my family cheering for me. When I got to mile 9, there were vultures circling overhead, and I was sure I was going to die out in this desert. I just kept reminding myself to keep going for all the kids we were helping that go through hard things every day in their lives. By the time I got to the obstacles in the last 2 miles of the race, my legs hurt so bad, and I kept cramping and falling off obstacles I normally always can complete. I was feeling defeated, but I knew I needed to keep going. By the time I got to the finish line, I was limping so bad, and my legs had never felt so sore. My apple watch died around mile 12, but I’m pretty sure I ended up doing around 17 miles. My body hurt so bad; I would rather have birthed all 3 of my kids again on the same day than run the Beast again, but the feeling of accomplishment to know that I had made it and made my miles matter was awesome! 

The week after we got home from California, I was doing my devotions and read in Isaiah 1:17 about taking up the cause of the widow and the orphan. Just then, the mailman showed up with a package on my porch that was a thank you from Venture. I looked at my fundraising page and saw that we had just raised $5000. I was so happy with that and knew that would make a huge impact, but I was also a little disappointed to not meet our $10k goal. I felt prompted to post about my fundraiser one more time on social media and asked in my post if anyone would match my $5000. I hashtagged a bunch of things and even direct messaged it to Bob Goff! 

A few hours later as I was cleaning the house, I got a notification from Venture saying I had received an anonymous donation of $5000!!! I yelled to my kids to come downstairs and couldn’t wait to tell everyone what God had done! My favorite part has been seeing my students again this fall and telling them how God provided a way to reach their crazy goal! 

I have no idea who sent me the money, but I am so thankful. Looking back on this last year, I love how God took an ordinary day in 2nd grade at NHCA and used His kids to further expand His kingdom beyond our wildest dreams!

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