Turning a Hobby into a Global Impact - Geneva College
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Turning a Hobby into a Global Impact

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1,890 miles. That is how far Hannah Sleight, Geneva College alumni ’19, traveled to participate in an inline skating fundraiser. What started as a hobby, turned into a dream, and became a reality for Hannah and her friend, Katie Spotz.

Hannah and Katie met through church about two years ago. Katie, who has a robust endurance athletic record, is passionate about clean water initiatives and centers her athletic events around fundraising for this cause. Katie’s athletic accomplishments are vast, including breaking many records, five Ironman triathlons, cycling across the country, a 325-mile river swim, running 100 miles nonstop in under 20 hours, and a solo row across the Atlantic Ocean. Inspired by Katie’s accomplishments, and interested in endurance athletics herself, Hannah was immediately interested and began to run and train with Katie.

One morning when Hannah and Katie were inline skating along the coast of Maine, a hobby they both love, they began to wonder about the possibilities and impact they could make through skating. That is exactly how Skate 4 water was born.

119 miles. The journey was long, at times even dangerous, but has made a lasting global impact. Hannah and Katie decided to partner with H2O For Life and Rollerblade to skate 119 miles across the Florida Keys to raise funds for clean drinking water. Beginning in Key Largo, the two skated from island to island, over bridges, along the highway, all the way to Key West. Battling traffic, injuries, exhaustion, and traveling logistics, they persevered, focusing on their goal all the way.

721 miles. That is how far Hannah and Katie were from the community they were impacting. Key Largo is just 721 miles from Haiti, the location of the school benefitting from their fundraiser. The goal originally was to help 500 people in Haiti gain access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene education through H2O For Life. The goal was not met, it was surpassed! As their skating continued, so did the funds.

Hannah reflected on the trip saying, “The most amazing piece of this journey was witnessing the kindness and generosity of family, friends, and complete strangers.” Through donations, support, prayers, rides, and even hosting, so many people, including strangers, made this journey possible.

Through ingenuity and determination, Hannah and Katie, combined with the generosity of others, were able to fully fund several water projects through the skate, resulting in 2,300 people being aided.

“A problem like 785 million people lacking clean water may feel insurmountable, but even a normal person like me could do something. When you have a passionate dream and a worthy cause, others are thrilled to help. You can be a changemaker too- yes you! You are unique, talented, and intelligent- more than qualified to take on the big challenges. When you choose to be brave, it bears fruit. Do the crazy thing.” -Hannah Sleight, ’19.

At Geneva, we encourage students to discover their purpose and live out who they are made to be. We believe our students are made to learn, discover, serve, and so much more. Inline skating 119 miles to help provide clean water is just one of the possible ways we can use our talents to serve God and neighbor.

To learn more about Hannah and Katie’s story, you can view their fundraiser at www.skate4water.com

Aug 9, 2022

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