Tue 5 Sep 2023 • Nick Kershaw
Running with Purpose: The Synergistic Impact of SERES, Youth Leadership, and the Guatemala Impact Marathon
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The Guatemala Impact Marathon is not just a race; it's a catalyst for social change, woven deeply into the fabric of SERES' year-round initiatives. This piece delves into how the intertwining of youth leadership, impact runners, and SERES' activities is pivotal for shaping a resilient, sustainable future for Guatemala.
In a landscape marked by environmental degradation and social inequality, SERES stands as an organisation striving for resilient futures through youth empowerment. The Guatemala Impact Marathon serves as a key moment in this year-round effort, connecting youth leaders, communities, and impact runners in a symbiotic relationship.
SERES: A Brief Overview
SERES is an NGO committed to cultivating youth leaders to create sustainable, resilient communities in Guatemala and beyond. They achieve this through education, empowerment, and leadership training. We have been partnered them since 2016, and every single Guatemala Impact Marathon has been created with their mission in mind, their narrative at the heart of our Impact Week, and their successes an inspiration to all Impact Runners.
The Importance of Youth Leadership
Youth leadership, as fostered by SERES, isn't a token gesture but a strategic imperative. These young leaders are educated and equipped to engage in critical issues like climate change, social inequality, and community well-being.
The young leaders trained by SERES work diligently throughout the year, advocating for responsible resource management, social justice, and community development. These initiatives go beyond theoretical applications—they manifest in local policies, educational programmes, and sustainable practices.
The Marathon's Role: More than Just a Race
A Gathering of Minds and Hearts
The Guatemala Impact Marathon is a unique moment where these youth leaders interact directly with impact runners from various walks of life. This confluence allows for an exchange of ideas, perspectives, and inspirations that enrich both parties.
The funds generated through the marathon support SERES' core activities, contributing to a sustainable financial model that enables the organisation to expand its reach and deepen its impact. We have partnered with SERES through the good times, and the bad. We have supported their work even during the days where it the magnitude of their vision felt far away - and over the years that trust and love that the team brings to their work has won. In recent times, we have seen the organisation flourish, and we cannot wait to see how the story unfolds long into the future.
The Triumvirate: Youth Leaders, Impact Runners, and Daily Activism
Cohesion and Continuity
The marathon serves as a tactile representation of the work being done 365 days a year. It creates a feedback loop—youth leaders are inspired by the commitment and passion of the impact runners, who, in turn, gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the daily grassroots efforts of these young change-makers. There is no doubt, that one of the hardest parts of my job is leaving the country - knowing that it will be another 51 weeks before we are able to support and connect with SERES again. Yet, they will work each and every one of those weeks to catalyse the change we all know is possible.
The Multiplicative Effect
This synergy has a cascading impact on the communities served by SERES. As youth leaders implement new projects and initiatives, they are buoyed by the knowledge that an international community of runners and supporters stand with them. This symbiosis is foundational for lasting change. This is an areas we haven't been as strong in as we hoped - we want more of our Impact Runners to build lasting relationships to support SERES. In 2023, after each race, we are committed to being more vocal with our Impact Runners. We want each person who has come to an event and felt deeply the power of SERES' work to continue to follow, support, and connect with their work for the rest of their lives.
On a personal note, I've been working with SERES since 2016, and support them monthly. Seeing youth blossom into true leaders in their communities, seeing the team overcome volcanic eruptions, pandemics, challenging fundraising environments as well as stick with us during the challenging 2020-2022 years! This is a partnership built on genuine respect, admiration, and belief in one another. Every dollar raised by our Impact Runners truly touches both teams deeply: thank you!
The work of SERES, magnified through the lens of the Guatemala Impact Marathon, is much more than a fleeting engagement—it's a sustainable, deeply ingrained commitment to the future of Guatemala. The interrelationship between SERES' youth leaders and impact runners forms a resilient framework for sustainable development and social justice, making it vital for the nation's future.
In March, we will once more be in Guatemala to support this amazing work. If you believe that leaders can catalyse change, if you want to deeply connect your running with true change, if you want to experience Guatemala in a way few others have...then we need you! Find out more about joining us in Guatemala and unleashing the power of running to change the world.