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IB students Alexis Boenker, Marielle Pezzella, Cristina Chiodi, Hannah Loss and Jaclyn Falconetti wear Emilia: Run for Relief T-shirts to support the cause. Photo by Yaryna Klimchak.
Sarasota Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 5 years ago

Riverview IB students help earthquake victims in Italy


Community service may be a requirement for International Baccalaureate students at Riverview High School, but one group of current high school seniors has set its sights on a more global reach.

Cristina Chiodi first thought to donate money to the victims of the Emilia Romagna, Italy, earthquake which took place May 20. She has family who lives in the area. At the end of June, Chiodi started to recruit fellow IB students to help organize a 5K and 1-mile run to raise money for the victims.

A core group of 20 IB students has been working on the project since then. The 5K and 1-mile fun run will take place Saturday, Jan. 26, on Siesta Key.

“Our reward has been the experience, and we have been striving to make a difference,” Chiodi said.

Students wanted to do a project that fit with the international-minded mission of the IB program. They made connections with Italian non-profit organizations and local Italian governments, as well as the Italian Red Cross. They received a positive response from local businesses and the community. They even received words of thanks from the Italian victims on the group’s Facebook page.

“Knowing that we were making an actual difference would always help me continue working,” said Riverview student Alexis Boenker. “It would always help me to think that only an hour out of my day is helping someone.”

Some days, students spent more than one hour walking door-to-door trying to get sponsorships for the run from local businesses. In the long run, it taught them a valuable lesson.

“We’ve learned to be persistent and stay determined,” said Jaclyn Falconetti.

“I hope we have inspired younger students in the IB program to do it, because it can definitely be done,” said Falconetti. “All it takes is a little idea.“

When: Registration begins 6:30 a.m.; run begins at 7:30 a.m. Jan. 26
Where: Siesta Key Beach
What: 5K and 1-mile run to benefit earthquake victims in Emilia Romagna region of Northern Italy
Cost: $25
Register: or race day 

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