Betway CI Sports Personality of the Year Awards

Warren and I had the honour and privilege last night of attending the Betway CI Sports Personality of the Year Awards. We were kindly invited along by ITV, under the premiss of answering a few questions on sport and challenges, little did we know that we had actually been selected for an award by the judges, but more on that later.

We have to be honest, it felt a little uncomfortable sitting alongside amazing sportsmen and sportswomen, who are competing at the top of their game, outstanding coaches, as well as volunteers that have been supporting sport in the islands for decades. Warren and I do not see ourselves as sportsmen, we tend not to look at ourselves as athletes either, we are just a couple of guys that have found a purpose in challenging the bodies and minds to got to the extremes to help and inspire others. We didn’t know what to expect last night in terms of the event, but we had a great evening and our eyes were opened wide to the talent we have in the Channel Islands.

In the sporting arena in Guernsey, and I think you can extend this to Jersey too, you often hear the term “punching above our weight“, usually in reference to a team or an individual competing. From the conversations and stories shared last night I don’t think we should be allowed to use that phrase any more in the Channel Islands, it is time to believe in ourselves.

The talent in the Channel Islands is incredible, we are not punching above our weight. We appear to simply have individuals and teams pushing themselves to be the best they can be.

We are extremely lucky to have such easy access to a broad range of sports and activities in the Channel Islands, something we all probably take for granted now and again. A combination of landscape, scenery, facilities, organisers, volunteers and coaches ensures the islands are fertile places for developing talent. When Warren I were in training for our 7in7 and EPIC48 events we went through some tough training periods, but the stories last night really inspired us, guys and girls who are training 6 to 8 times a week, who have been doing it for years and are pushing themselves to be the best they can be. That’s the inspiring bit, people making that personal choice and commitment to push themselves to be the best they can be, and we appear to have lots of them across the islands.

When you add that into the more informal activities taking place, the running groups that go out each week, the bike rides organised each weekend, along with all the other activities taking place on a weekly basis in the Channel Islands we have a unique community and one that we should be very proud of. It is also an area that can help the Channel Islands continue to prosper, when you look at challenges such as physical and mental health, the role activity and sport plays is a critical one in creating a healthy and thriving community.

As mentioned at the start of this post, we were somewhat duped into attending the awards, thinking they had us confused with sportspeople to answer a few questions. It was only when they ran the VT for the  RaceNation Charitable Achievement Award that we saw out feet pounding treadmills that the penny dropped. We were genuinely shocked at receiving the award and had no idea it was coming. It was both a joy and an emotional struggle to see the video from the team at The HUB and the impact of the Sunflower Project, where they continue to help children and families who have suffered bereavement. And we know that the projects in Uganda and the DRC with This Is EPIC continue to change thousands of lives.

We love what we do, it all comes down to ‘the why’, what we call ‘purpose’. It feels good to push the body and mind to places that you have never been before, but it is even better to see the positive impact from it, to see lives change and to others push themselves and take on new challenges.

Thank you to everyone for the kind words and support, as much as it is uncomfortable for us we really appreciate it and inspires us to go further and push harder. We were asked several times last night the worrying question of “What next?” Well, 2016 won’t hold any major challenges, that is being saved for 2017, but 2016 will include our Moonlight Marathon, as well as a set of local events in the Summer, hopefully working with our good friend Robert Young, aka MarathonManUK.

The Road To EPIC48

1,792.66 miles run

82,119 ft of elevation gained

201,088 calories burnt

7 pairs of trainers used and abused

A few statistics since I stared training for the EPIC48 World Record Challenge around 10 months ago. It has been a long journey in terms of both training and organising the event for Warren and I.

Lots of people have asked me in recent days how I am feeling and how training has gone / is going. On the training side it’s a difficult process, with marathon training you can put together a 16 week training schedule. The schedule is likely to include a few runs of 20 miles, and maybe a 22 miler in there as well. For the 48 Hour challenge we have not been able to get too close to the scale of the challenge, we’ve incorporated a night-time marathon and then 12 hours on a treadmill to see how our bodies and minds react on a couple of hours sleep.

We’ve made sure we have included several Ultra-Marathons (any distance over the 26.2 miles), the longest of which being the Saffery Champness Rotary Walk at 38.65 miles. The interesting thing for me is that wI have only spent 20 hours on a treadmill across 2 separate runs, most of my training has been done on the Guernsey roads or the cliffs.

1,700+ miles of training may sound a lot, but with 5 days to go to the EPIC48 event you still question whether that is enough, you question whether you should have spent longer on a treadmill or a few more nights of getting up at 1am for a run. But, all of that is done now, and the big event is just 5 days away.

In terms of how I am feeling, to be honest, last week I was pretty nervous and was having moments of doubt about all things from training to actually surviving the event. This week I have realised that the main thing is going to be to enjoy the event, and to savour every minute of a unique event that will help change thousands of lives in a positive way.

It has been a huge journey already with the training and organising and we have seen the best of humanity and the Guernsey community come together to help us host the event. We have over 25 sponsors and a team of over 50 volunteers that will help the vent run smoothly and verify the world record attempt for Guinness World Records.

So, after all the organising and training it now comes down to running for 48 hours and raising £100,000 for some amazing causes. All of the money raised will go directly to the following charity projects:

  1. The Hub, through, the Sunflower Project, support children and families who have experienced bereavement or are living with someone they love having a serious illness.  The project has supported over 100 families in Guernsey since launching last year and the support has been invaluable.

  2. This Is EPIC, help people living in extreme poverty in Africa through Village Savings and loans projects. The aim is to impact over 7,000 people through implementing new Village Savings and Loans groups in the Democratic Republic of Congo with the funds raised from EPIC48.

  3. NSPPC, the money raised will fund many projects which aim to either prevent child abuse happening or to help those who have already been abused.

  4. Dreams Come True, the money raised will help children with serious and life-limiting illnesses have a special wish realised for them.

If you are inspired by what we are attempting and want to help change lives then please support our challenge by donating. Any amount will help us change lives through the charities we are supporting.

To access our Just Giving page please click on the image below. Thank you so much for your support.

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It’s not about running or records

I thought I’d write this post following a few conversations in recent weeks about how I got into running and also about the Charity that Louise and I run, This Is EPIC.

People appear surprised when I say that I have only got into running as a result of deciding to run 7 Marathons in 7 Days in 2014. Prior to that I had run two half-marathons and my sports of choice were cricket and football, yes, very different from ultra-running!

It all started in December 2013 when I decided to take on running 7 Marathons in 7 Days to raise money for This Is EPIC, the charity that my wife and I started in October 2013. In February 2014 I met Warren, he was interviewing me for a StartUp Guernsey video, I told him about the challenge and it then snowballed into a big event that ended up raising over £22,000 for This Is EPIC and The HUB.

What we experienced with our 7 Marathons in 7 Days, the support from the community, the belief in the charities that we were supporting, and the personal battles that we won were a huge learning curve for both Warren and I.

In three weeks time we are taking on an even bigger challenge. We’ll be running on treadmills for 48 hours, attempting to break the World Record for the furthest distance run in 48 hours. The world record currently sits at 251.79 miles, just under 10 marathons in a weekend. A challenge on a similar scale is the fundraising target we have set ourselves, this year we are aiming for £100,000. This is a big number, but we are so focused on hitting it because we know first hand the good the charities can achieve with the funds.

Whilst the event is indeed a world record challenge, and yes, it is another running challenge, for us it is not about running and it is not about records. We both enjoy running and it would be awesome to break the world record, but the energy for us comes from the positive impact we can have through the money we raise from the event.

Margret Nantumbwe (Pictured at the start of this post) is just one of the sources of energy that keeps us putting one foot in front of the other, even when our bodies are telling us to give up. I read about Margret’s story this week as we received a project update from the This Is EPIC village savings and loans projects in Uganda.

Margret  Nantumbwe lives in a small village called Nkokko, which is in the Kirumba Sub County, Rakai district of Uganda. Margret is a mother to four children, three girls aged four, seven and eleven and one boy aged two.

Margret joined the This Is EPIC Tweyambe Village Savings and Loans (VSL) Group in early 2015.

Before joining This Is EPIC Tweyambe VSL group Margret could not afford school fees for her three daughters as she did not have a stable source of income. Through a “Farmer Field School” set-up by This Is EPIC aimed at helping communities increase agriculture production and productivity, Margret learnt knowledge and skills of production using organic fertilisers (compost and farm yard manure) plus mulching.

With the money that she had saved through the This Is EPIC VSL group Margret trialled her new knowledge on 0.5 acre of land she purchased and started to produce onions. Margret made enough profit from this harvest that she then hired 2 acres of land and now continues to harvest onions as well as egg plants, which she sells to the local community.

This is what Margret has to say about the impact on her life from joining a This Is EPIC VSL group.

“My life has improved tremendously Thanks to This Is EPIC; I can now afford to pay the school fee of my children. They therefore do not miss any classes because of tuition fees like was the case before. Right now I have plans of extending my garden size because I am sure to receive my sweat’s worth from my produce. There are not enough words in the world to express my gratitude to EPIC for the opportunity. Things would have remained the same for a long time had it not been their intervention. Thank you so much.”

This is why we run.

This is why we push our bodies and minds to the limit.

This is why keep putting one foot in front of the other.

If you want to help us continue to give thousands of others in Margret’s situation a help-up and the opportunity to turn their life around and provide a future filled with hope for their children then please support our EPIC48 World Record Challenge. Any donation makes a huge difference.

Thank you.

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A brutal training run.

It’s the morning after our longest run to date and time for a bit of reflection.

We had always planned a treadmill run outside Waitrose in Guernsey as this would be a great opportunity to raise awareness of our challenge, fundraise as well as spend a good few hours on a treadmill. In the week leading up to the Waitrose Training Day, Warren suggested adding in a night-time marathon prior to running on treadmills for 12 hours and of course we went ahead with that suggestion.

At 2am in the early hours of Saturday morning Warren and I set-off for our marathon around Guernsey. Amazingly we were joined by Danny Le Prevost and Stuart Moseley who wanted to keep us company and take on the marathon themselves. We were very lucky with the weather, a beautiful clear night, with the temperature rising to about 15 deg by 6am. The peace of the west coast took our minds off the lack of sleep and distance, and as we came round to Guernsey Airport we were met by Nicola Smith, Cath Birnie and Kevin Kreckler, who ran the last 5 or 6 miles with us.

We were aiming to complete the marathon in 5 hours, a nice gentle pace with a bit of body management as we had 12 hours on treadmills in front of us. We got back to our starting point (Waitrose Admiral Park car park) at 6:35, which meant we had completed the marathon in 4 hours 35 minutes, 25 minutes faster than we had planned! As the support runners headed off for some well earned breakfast Warren and I rested up at Waitrose, changed clothes, our physio, Guthrie Steer, went to work on us and we treated ourselves to a double espresso and a breakfast.

It was now onto the treadmills. Our previous longest training run on treadmills was 8 hours inside the Intersport Guernsey store in early July. Below are the key lessons that we learnt from yesterday’s training run.

  1. Running on treadmills is harder than road or trail running – we kind of knew this already, but yesterday just accentuated it. We’d spent 4 and a half hours running on the road and that felt comfortable, you have to adjust your running style / form when you are on a treadmill.

  2. Marginal gains matter – the slightest changes made a big difference. Even down to more regular changes of socks, which felt like putting on new feet, can make a big difference.

  3. Listen to the team around you – we are very lucky to have some great people around us covering physical and nutritional support. Listening to their advice helped us get through over 15 hours of running without any long-term damage to ourselves.

  4. Heat can be an issue – the weather yesterday was more suited for a day at the beach rather than a day on a treadmill. Up until about 2pm we were in the shade, then the sun was on us for the last 5-6 hours of the day. This had a huge impact on performance and luckily we’ll be inside a marquee in September for the 48 hour challenge.

  5. Developing a pace and run/walk strategy is going to be vital – we can’t just go into the 48 hour challenge hoping to survive it without thinking about how we manage our bodies. We knew this, and yesterday was a great test of how we changed our pace throughout the day to manage the impact on our bodies.

  6. Lack of sleep was interesting – we had a couple of ‘funny’ moments throughout the day were our minds weren’t working as effectively as they normally do. Whilst they had comedy value during the run yesterday, over a longer period they could present real difficulties in the 48 hour challenge.

  7. It’s going to be a mental battle as well as physical – several times throughout the day our bodies were saying “ok, that’s enough, this is picking a bit” yet our minds had to ignore this, whether that was through chatting to people to ignore the pain or quietly saying to our bodies “be quiet and keep going”.

  8. We saw the best in humanity and it kept us going – the support we received outside Waitrose and on social media was incredible. It really helped us to continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward. We’re taking on these crazy challenges to help change lives, to bring hope to hopeless situations and to see people thrive, who without the support of the charities involved may never have had that opportunity. People yesterday were so interested in hearing about the charities we are supporting and we had so many people chat to us about our challenge. This genuinely helped us through the day, so thank you Guernsey for being yet again, being epic.

We finished our run after hitting a total of just over 60 miles, this was 26.2 miles for the Marathon, plus a further 35 on the treadmills. Both Warren and I were a little disappointed with the distance run on the treadmills, but we had the challenge of the heat, as well as a couple of minor injuries to manage in the last 4 hours of the run. On reflection, our average training week has been around 60-70 miles over the last 12 months, and yesterday we ran that in 15.5 hours, so we should be pleased. And even more importantly, we raised a load of cash from the very generous Guernsey public!

If you like what we are doing and believe in helping the amazing charities we are supporting then please donate to our fundraising campaign.

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Taking on our longest run to date

This weekend Philip Smith and Warren Mauger will be completing a night-time round-the-island marathon, very closely followed by a 12 hour run on treadmills outside of Waitrose Admiral Park on Saturday 8 August 2015.

Starting at 2:00am, Philip and Warren have set themselves a target of completing finishing the marathon at the Waitrose Admiral Park store at around 7am. This will give the guys time for a short rest, some breakfast, before taking on a further 12 hours of running.

They are aiming to run over 50 miles each on treadmills, making this the duo’s longest training (over 75 miles in one day) run before the EPIC48 world record challenge in Market Square, St Peter Port on the 4th, 5th and 6th September.

As well as being a training day, representatives from The HUB and This Is EPIC will be at Admiral Park to help with fundraising and talk about how the money raised will be used to change lives.

Whilst Philip and Warren are training in Guernsey, Robert Young, Adam Holland and Abi Schofield – their EPIC48 running partners – will be holding a similar event running on treadmills in a Peterborough Gym in the UK.

Philip and Warren have run over 1500 miles each since they began training in February, and in fact, the pair haven’t really stopped running since their 7 Marathons in 7 Days challenge in August 2014.

“This will be our last chance to perfect our running and nutrition strategies before the challenge in September. It’s a huge test and it will really push us but we need to practise running in the night whilst fatigued,” said Mr Smith.

“It’s also an opportunity for people to come and find out more about why we are doing the event and donate if they wish.”

You can follow Philip and Warren’s preparations via www.epicchallenges.gg.

If you like what Philip and Warren are doing and believe in the causes they are supporting please donate via the Just Giving page:

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Running the Saffery Champness Rotary Walk

38.56 Miles

4,870 Calories

3,572 ft Elevation Gain

9:58 min/mi Average Pace 

They are the statistics from our training run two days ago, which was to run the Saffery Champness Rotary Walk. As the title of the event indicates, this is a walk, a beautiful 38(ish) mile walk around the cliffs and coastal paths of Guernsey. Warren and I saw it as a perfect training run for our EPIC48 World Record Attempt, and thank-fully the organisers kindly let us use it as a training run. Why was it ideal? For a few reasons, it meant a lack of sleep (4:30am start), it was our longest run ever, it had mixed terrain, we’d have to manage our nutrition on the run and it would push us, really push us physically and mentally.

After a 3am alarm call I was in town and ready to set-off on the run at 4:30am. One thing I learnt from the 7 Marathons in 7 Days last year was to break down the distances, by Marathon no.7 we were doing it down to 100 yard finish lines. I wasn’t sure how best to break down the SCR Walk, in my mind I wanted to break it down into small chunks, but for some reason my gut feel was to approach it as a cliff run and then a long distance run. These are two things that both Warren and I have done a few times before, but never as a combined run. Breaking it down into two sections helped me mentally approach the run.

A few people have said that the run must have been easy for us with all of our training. I can assure you, there was nothing easy about running the SCR Walk. The cliffs are brutal, they are brutal for a couple of reasons, the main one being the inability to get any sort of rhythm to your running. You constantly face steps up or down, twists and turns and inclines and declines.

I came off the cliffs right on 3 hours, and I was feeling ok in terms of nutrition and hydration. My approach was quite mechanical and one that I had learnt from a previous run. Don’t want until your hungry to eat. I made sure I ate a banana, a bit of flapjack or a shot block gel every hour of running. The little and often seemed to work 3 hours into the run.

From a mental perspective I was feeling ok, I had completed the first part of the run and was now focussed on the ‘long training run’. The west coast stretch to Portinfer was beautiful. There was a gentle tail wind, the ice was going out and the sun was shining. For 10 miles or so it was easy to forget and ignore the body starting to complain about what I was putting it through.

The route takes you as close to the edge of the island as possible, which around Grand Havre and L’Ancresse area, plays tricks on the mind. You look into the distance and see a milestone and think “yes, I’m making progress”. Before you know it you are weaving around the coastal paths and it feels like you are running away from the finish line rather than to it.

At about 31-32 miles I had to adopt a run-walk strategy, again, this wasn’t planned, I’d never tried this before as I’d never run this far in one hit. My approach was to run for 1 mile and then walk for 1 minute, just to give the body an element of rest and recovery. It really helped and from just past The Bridge I was able to run at a steady pace to the finish line. A big thank you to Toby Birch who drove past me, stopped and offered me a water that I threw over my head as it was starting to become very hot during the last couple of miles into town.

At the finish line I was greeted by the amazing SCR Walk volunteers that handed over medal, a much needed apple juice and dose of encouragement which immediately took my mind off the enormity of the 48 hour world record challenge.

Running the SCR Walk felt as tough as running our 7 Marathons in 7 Days last year, but it was a great learning experience in terms of how our bodies react to being pushed further than before, how we approach nutrition and developing our mental strength to break through situations when our bodies are telling us to stop, to give and to not take one more step.

It was also a good opportunity to be reminded about the purpose behind our challenge, as this is the fuel that drives us on. Knowing that each training run, each battle of the mind and body that we win and every step we will take during the 48 hours will help change the lives of people that are in desperate need of help and support.

The money raised from our EPIC 48 World Record Challenge will support the following charities and projects:

  1. The Hub, through the Sunflower Project support children and families who have experienced bereavement or are living with someone they love having a serious illness.  The project has supported over 100 families since launching last year and the support has been invaluable.
  2. This Is EPIC, Help people living in extreme poverty in Africa through Village Savings and loans projects. The aim is to impact over 7,000 people through implementing new Village Savings and Loans groups as a result of the fundraising in 2015.
  3. NSPPC, Fund many projects which aim to either prevent child abuse happening or to help those who have already been abused.
  4. Dreams Come True, Help children with serious and life-limiting illnesses to have a special wish realised for them.

Thank you for your support.

Donate with JustGiving

Why the hell am I running for 48 hours?

Good question, after running seven marathons in seven days last year I hadn’t really planned for there to be something else. Something that week moved me though (more than my feet).

The simplest answer to the question is to raise money and awareness for our chosen charities. Something clicked with me a year or so ago, I feel driven to do something positive and this is my small way of doing that. I want to leave some sort of positive footprint by helping others who may then go on to help people themselves, creating some sort of momentum. I don’t want to wait till I have a terminal illness or some tragedy before I start doing something to help others. At the moment I have my health and my brain so I plan to make the most of them with my limited resources.

Through the process of training and leading up to the 7 in 7 it became clearer than ever that this wasn’t at all about running, in fact running was secondary to the fact that every step is helping someone, changing a life. That can be difficult to understand but it’s true. Last year the money and awareness raised meant we changed the lives of thousands of people in Guernsey and Africa; that’s a humbling thought, but it also shows the power of taking on a hard challenge with a clear purpose.

So when the dust settled Philip and I asked ourselves what we could do that felt impossible. We considered running for 24 hours, but we felt that we knew we could achieve this with a decent level of training, hard as it would be! Then we both came to the same conclusion: 48 hours!! This made us feel a bit sick (and still does). It’s a challenge neither of us felt we could do! It’s a challenge with a high chance of failure!

We really are scared by this challenge (well I am), but we also want to show that the human spirit is so much stronger than we think. Having set the challenge we committed to the training months ago (we never really stopped after last year) and in the months to come this is going to become considerably harder with many hours dedicated to it each day, along with running our businesses and being loving, hands-on (and not tired or grumpy) parents and husbands.

So the reason I am doing something so stupid, that scares me to my core, is to raise money – a lot of money – that will achieve the following:

  1. Through the Sunflower Project support children and families who have experienced bereavement or are living with someone they love having a serious illness.  The project has supported over 100 families since launching last year and the support has been invaluable.

  2. Help people who are some of the poorest in the world in Africa through Village Savings and loans projects run by This is EPIC. The aim is to impact over 7,000 people through implementing new Village Savings and Loans groups.

  3. Fund many projects (run by the NSPCC), which aim to either prevent abuses happening or to help those who have already been abused.

  4. Help children with serious and life-limiting illnesses to have a special wish realised for them. It may be to go to their favourite football club to meet the players, or to fly off to Disneyland to meet Mickey Mouse and swim with dolphins. Whatever, it is a special treat that lights up one young person’s difficult life, at least for one day.

If you would like to support us here are a couple of really simple ways of doing it.

1.Donate. 

Donate with JustGiving

2. Like.

3. Follow.

4. Cheer, Toot, Wave (when you see us training in our orange tops)

We’ll be sharing more about our training and the event in coming days, weeks and months. Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our challenge.

Running is our vehicle, Purpose and Impact is our fuel

Today we launched our next challenge. This one takes Warren and I into the unknown and will push our bodies and minds well beyond where we think they can go.

On September 4th, 5th and 6th, in Market Square Guernsey, Warren Mauger and I will be running for 48 hours on a treadmill with one core aim.

To change as many lives for the better as we possibly can. 

We are very excited to be joined by Robert Young, aka MarathonManUK, and Adam Holland. We first heard of Robert Young when we were training for our 7 Marathons in 7 Days in 2014. His story of what drives him is one that every person needs to read, and we had the pleasure of meeting him at the Guernsey Marathon, which was marathon no.7 for Warren and I. Adam is in the same mould, driven by having a positive impact on people and using crazy challenges as the vehicle for doing it.

Many people have asked us the same question when we have mentioned our challenge “so how long does person run for?” assuming that we take it in turns on the treadmill. No. It is 48 hours on the treadmill for each of us. Alongside using the challenge to raise as much money as possible for some amazing charities we are also aiming to break a world record. The current world record for the furthest distance run on a treadmill in 48 hours is 251.79 miles. We are going to attempt to break the 48 hour world record.

But the important thing here isn’t the world record. At the core of this challenge is the desire to change as many lives as possible. During our 7 Marathons in 7 Days challenge in 2014 Warren and I swiftly realised that it wan’t about the running. The running was merely a vehicle to create a positive impact.

Last year we set ourselves a big target of £20,000, many people told us it was too big and we’d never reach it. But, thanks to the amazing Guernsey community we surpassed the target by a a few hundred pounds and the money went to helping people overcome poverty in Africa and supporting the amazing young people we have in Guernsey. This year, we have set an even bigger target, £100,000. Yes, we know it is a big number, but we are passionate about changing as many lives as possible for the better. This year we are supporting the same two Guernsey based charities This Is EPIC and TheHUB, along with Robert’s chosen charities, the NSPCC and Dreams Come True. You can find out more about the charities from the links below.

This Is EPIC – Working to end poverty for individuals and communities in a sustainable way.

The HUB – Providing a safe place for young people in Guernsey to get advice & support.

NSPCC – Helping children who’ve been abused to rebuild their lives.

Dreams Come True – On a mission to bring joy to seriously ill children and young people.

If you would like to support us here are a couple of really simple ways of doing it.

1.Donate. 

Donate with JustGiving

2. Like.

3. Follow.

4. Cheer, Toot, Wave (when you see us training in our orange tops)

We’ll be sharing more about our training and the event in coming days and weeks. Thank you so much for taking the time to read about our challenge, I’ll leave you with a little something from Robert Young, MarathonManUK.

“Thoughts on life;

do something you love,

do something that betters you as a person,

and do something that betters the lives of others.”

Get in touch with us!