“For 24,” is a year-long campaign telling the story of Freedom 4/24—from the survivors, world-changers, and volunteers to fundraisers, and behind-the-sceners. Our goal is to inform, inspire, and enrich your understanding of Freedom 4/24 and the work we do together.
Do you run? Play video games? Lift weights? Take photos? Whatever it is you love, you can use it to bring freedom to girls around the world who need it. YOU can be their hero by simply raising money around the activity you love the most. Want proof? Read on to learn what our founder and her friends did, then email Emily@freedom424.org to start your own fundraiser.
#14, #15, #16, #17, #18. Laura, Eric, Michael & Christine Gelatt, Colleen Alber
Fundraiser Event: May 7, 2016 / Indianapolis Mini Marathon
Amount raised: $5,760
Christine, as the founder of Freedom 4/24, our mission is obviously dear to your heart. How did this translate to the idea of running a half marathon with friends to raise money?
Michael [my husband] and I love the Run 4 Their Lives component of Freedom 4/24. It provides a great way for people to rally together to take a stand against human trafficking and exploitation. Since we moved to Indianapolis in 2014, we had been thinking about the possibility of starting a race here. However, we never felt like we were in a place to take on the full responsibility of leading a race with excellence. Last December, we thought of using this idea of running a pre-established race (half marathon or more) and fundraising for Freedom 4/24. I contacted the folks who put on the Indy Mini, and they were happy to let us use their race as the platform for our fundraiser.
How did you get the team together?
We asked some of our close friends and family members if they would be interested in spearheading this with us. Our goal for this year was to navigate this method of fundraising to see if it can be effective. We worked with Joy [Marinelli, Freedom 4/24 National Race Director] to create an incentive structure for reaching various fundraising milestones, we set up a unique donating platform via a website for each team member to be able to track their individual fundraising goals, and we navigated various methods of reaching those goals.
In the future, we’d like to focus more on building our team. We’d love to see this grow not just in Indianapolis, but in half marathons and marathons all over the country! We see incredible potential with this method.
Tell us about fundraising. What was your approach as a team?
Our main approach was simply to put the issue in front of people. We encouraged team members to post statistics, stories, videos, etc., of the reality of human trafficking on their social media platforms. Some team members sent emails to close friends and family members asking for their support.
Michael had one of the more unique ideas of selling individual pounds of his famous Applewood smoked bacon for a suggested donation of $10/lb. He ended up raising almost $750 as a direct result of that. It didn’t hurt that many people donated $50+ for their pound of bacon!
Michael and I decided to write the names of all of the individuals who had donated toward our goals on the backs of our race shirts. We wanted to make sure they were there with us as we ran!
Was this your first half marathon? Were all the members of your team runners before?
This was my third half marathon, but it was the first that had a bigger purpose in mind. Two other members on our team, Colleen and Laura, are much more consistent and serious runners. We felt more legitimate having them on our team.
Tell us about the race itself. What was the experience like for you?
The race is an absolute blast. The Indi Mini is one of the largest half marathons in the United States, so the sheer amount of people made it a really fun environment. It is a really neat experience to run for 13.1 miles and literally have the course packed with people the entire route. Half way through the course you actually run a lap on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Runners are encouraged to kiss the starting line bricks as they pass it!
As Freedom 4/24's founder, why do you continue to invest and believe in the mission?
Simply put, there is more work to do. I’ve seen a lot of positive change since 2008 in the arena of awareness, but I’m still passionate about mobilizing everyday individuals to do their part in bringing freedom and justice to one more victim at a time. I’m passionate about the work that Freedom 4/24 continues to do, and Michael and I are thankful to be a part of it.
The mission of Freedom 4/24 is to bring freedom and justice to victims and survivors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation by 1) raising awareness, and (2) to financially partner with organizations around the world that are dedicated to bringing freedom and justice to victims. Any time we can do something that filters that mission by accomplishing both of those things is a win. Through our fundraising we informed hundreds if not thousands of new people not just about the issue of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, but also about the work Freedom 4/24 is doing to confront it.
In addition, we raised thousands of dollars to help support that work. Sometimes doing your part isn’t about reinventing the wheel, it’s about doing what you are already passionate about (or simply doing what you think is fun) and making it have an eternal purpose.