1. How long have you been taking Tae Kwon Do lessons?
I have been taking Tae Kwon Do for eight years now. I started when I was eight and I've been commited ever since the first day. Although it occupies much of my life, the journey has been worth it.
2. How did you come up with the "Run For Their Lives" idea?
I am very much involved in community service and other wildlife programs. I have always had a passion for saving nature, especially because it's unfortunate to watch our wildlife die off so quickly.
3. Who do you owe the most credit for helping you get this off the ground?
I could not have gotten through this without the help of my instructors at Tae Kwon Do, Bryson and Melissa Johnson at Cary Tae Kwon Do Academy, and the support of my mom.
4. Who have you talked to with the town of Cary to get approval and set-up for the 5K? Has the mayor been involved?
So far I have talked to Keith Jenkins, the Athletic Facility Supervisor at Wake Med Soccer Park, who was able to help and show me the ropes on how to get a 5K started, including insurance information, the need for medical presence, etc. I did invite mayor Weinbrecht however he is unable to make it this year. He said he hopes to make it next year to our 2nd annual Run For Their Lives 5K event.
5. Why wild animals? What made them so appealing for this idea?
It hurts to know that so many of the animals are becoming extinct due to human encroachment on their habitat. For example, 2010 is known as the "Year of the Tiger" however in jungles of Asia, only 3,000 are left due to habitat loss, deforestation, and climate change. To me it's more than just raising money for a great cause, but also spreading my knowledge so everyone else can be aware of the dangerously low numbers we are left of for these beautiful creatures.
6. Do you have any animals of your own? If so, what are they?
I have two dogs of my own at home that I love more than anything! In addition, I worked at Camp Bow Wow for a over a year as a "dog camp counselor" to spend more time with a greater variety of dogs.
7. How has this idea been received in the community? At Green Hope?
Local businesses have been very supportive. As a matter of fact some of my sponsors are Triangle Direct Media, REI, Ragazzis, PIP Printing, and Triproperties to name a few. Participation is slow as I'm trying my hardest to spread the word. I've communicated to the athletic coaches at many schools including Green Hope High School and believe they will come through in support of the cause.
8. Have you experienced any setbacks? Pushback? People who have not wanted to help? Any roadblocks at all?
Most definitely! Juggling school, tae kwon do, work, friends and family, plus organizing this run is very stressful. Also having to go from door to door asking different businesses to support us and receiving both "yes" and "no" from many. This project has helped me come out of my shell and reach out to the community in hopes to make a change.
Jessica Stober will be featured on the Cary News site http://www.examiner.com/Raleigh