146 Miles In Death Valley + St. Louis' Oldest Child Care Facility = 1 Inspired Idiot
Tim Burke, Secretary, Board of Directors, SouthSide Early Childhood Center, poses with some children from SSECC. Burke is preparing for an ultramarathon to raise money for SouthSide's new school. St. Louis resident Tim Burke has either lost his mind or is incredibly inspired by the work of SouthSide Early Childhood Center.
Burke plans to complete a 146 mile ultramarathon in Death Valley in July, from the lowest point in the United States (Badwater) to the highest point in the lower 48 (Mt. Whitney) to raise money to fund a new school for SouthSide Early Childhood Center.
Burke is hoping to raise $140,000: $1,000 for each of the 140 children who will be served each year at SouthSide (formerly South Side Day Nursery). The new school will only be the third building occupied by the agency in 126 years.
Burke is fully funding the costs of the run so that all dollars raised go directly to help the kids at Southside. "I'm hoping to raise $140,000, or $1,000, for each of the 140 kids we will be able to nurture, educate, and inspire every year," remarked Burke. "Whether people are able to help by pledging a dollar a mile or 10 cents a mile – any amount will help make a difference."
The idea for the marathon came to Burke while running. "I was thinking a lot about the barriers the kids at SouthSide have to overcome. Really tough ones, like poverty and parents who are struggling just to make it each day," Burke commented. "I realized how lucky I had been to have the childhood I did. I wanted in some small way to represent the idea of overcoming barriers – mine and theirs." Burke continued, "Not to say that mine on the run will in any way be as difficult. The barriers I will face are for a very short time. The things the kids and their families struggle with take much longer to overcome and require a great deal more perseverance. At SouthSide, they have the support they need to keep going. I am hoping that the run will inspire others to contribute what they can to help build the new school AND maybe inspire them as they work on their own challenges."
Burke has started a blog, 1inspiredidiot.com, to build awareness for the run and the work of SouthSide. It chronicles his training, the agency's impact, and his personal revelations as he prepares for the marathon. Those interested in his journey can also follow Burke on Twitter: @1inspiredidiot.
SouthSide's mission is to nurture, educate and inspire children and families with limited resources, fostering healthy development and a strong foundation for success. Our vision is that children love to learn, live purposeful lives, and contribute positively to their communities.
SouthSide continues the vision of its founders. Thousands of children have passed through its doors since its founding in 1886. Children are lovingly cared for, educated, and launched toward success.
Currently, the agency serves 97 children and their families each year and will have room to grow to 140 in the new school. SouthSide provides exceptional child care and early education, family and parenting support services, and early intervention for children with disabilities and mental health challenges. SouthSide transforms the future for children of poverty by building a foundation for academic and life success. For more information visit southside-ecc.org.