A 5k for a Cause

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2015 Y-PIF winners Isabelle Wynn and Zoe Ziegler Isabelle Wynn and Zoe Ziegler

For our August issue, Capital Area Women’s LifeStyle Magazine is proud to feature this year’s ePIFanyNow™ Y-PIF award winners. ePIFanyNow works to create a revolution of positive, transformational experiences through acts of kindness.

The ePIFanyNow Y-PIF Award honors youth who pass kindness forward and make positive contributions in their communities. It is an opportunity for youth to get recognition and added funding for their youth-led activities/projects that provide an in-kind service to others and make a positive contribution to their communities.

Y-PIF honors are awarded in two age groups; 5-8th grade and 9-12th grade. Winners are awarded $500 from ePIFanyNow for their charity or cause. This year’s Y-PIF 5-8th grade winners were Isabelle Wynn and Zoe Ziegler, who organized the Zebra Zoom, a 5k benefiting the Life As A Zebra Foundation. Rachel Muzenberger was the 9-12th grade winner; she organized annual carnivals to benefit her friend and neighbor with Dystonia, a rare neuro-muscular disorder.

We hope you enjoy these inspiring stories and find your own way to pass kindness forward.

Isabelle Wynn and Zoe Ziegler became friends at school, but bonded on the cross-country team. The girls were passionate about organizing a race for fun but found a greater reward in supporting a local charity.

Wynn and Ziegler, both 11, love to run and thought it would be fun to plan a race for their friends and neighbors. The girls brainstormed names, taking a lead from the well-known Turkey Trot.

“We came up with a lot of names and we tried to think of things like the Turkey Trot. We came up with a few names like the beagle bolt, but we liked Zebra Zoom best,” Ziegler said.

“And I already knew of the Life As A Zebra Foundation so we thought the money we raised could help support them,” Wynn added.

The Life As A Zebra Foundation’s mission is to receive and administer funds for the purpose of education, prevention, treatment and research of various rare, invisible illnesses.

“We really wanted to help a charity that wasn’t as big. A lot of people donate to big charities, so we wanted to help a smaller one because they could use the money more,” Wynn said.

Wynn and Ziegler worked with Katie Jaskolski, president and co-founder of the foundation, to promote the event through their website and social media. The girls did a lot of the promotion work themselves working to build a website, creating an Instagram account, posting flyers around town, including information in their school announcements and talking to their principal to help get their classmates involved.

Ziegler and Wynn even included local businesses in the planning and requested donations to make the 5k a success. The pair secured donations from partners like Kroger, Dunkin Donuts, Tom’s Food Center and Playmakers.

The girls’ parents pitched in when needed, but left the large planning and organization to the pair which motivated them to create a 5k all their own.

“I was happy for them to do it, but we told them they had to do it themselves. They had to be the driving force, and they were. They did everything, it was really only the big practical things that we had to come in to help on,” said Isabelle’s mom, Sara Wynn. “They ran with it and were so psyched about it. We were happy to support them.”2015 Y-PIF winner Rachel Munzenberger

Ziegler and Wynn’s Zebra Zoom 5k raised $1,148 and had 64 participants. The pair planned everything from promotions to trophies and had a blast while doing it.

“My favorite part was painting my friend’s face while she was dressed like a zebra and going around and passing out flyers,” Wynn said.

“I liked getting sponsors and free food for the race,” Ziegler added.

Although the first Zebra Zoom was a success, the pair has big ideas for their next run and would like to include more kids in the mix.

“I think next time we do it we should try to get more sponsors and get more people to run,” Ziegler said.

“And we had an idea for a kids race that never happened, maybe that could happen. We would like to have more kids there next time,” said Wynn.

And while they will dream big for their next event, they promise to keep the smaller charities in mind. The pair agrees that small and local charities need more support and hope to see the community rally around them.

“We hope other people will pick small charities, especially charities that don’t get a lot. There are a lot of charities that need help, but people only think of the big ones. We just think people don’t know about them,” the pair shared. “I mean we are 11, we don’t need the money, we wouldn’t spend it on anything useful and people with invisible illnesses need it more. We just want other people to think like that too.”


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Ami Iceman-Haueter

Ami Iceman-Haueter

Ami Iceman-Hauter is the Brand Manager at M3 Group in downtown Lansing. Iceman is a graduate of Michigan State University with a bachelors degree in creative advertising.