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Every day at Heifer we are lucky enough to hear incredible stories of supporters and volunteers donating their time, resources and money to help share our mission. Recently, I had the pleasure of learning about a young supporter, Ian, 13, who is climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro starting August 9. After hearing his story, I wanted to ask him a few more questions about his journey and why he chose Heifer as his charity to support. Check out our Q&A below:

MC: Ian, what made you choose Heifer International as your charity of choice?

IAN: I chose Heifer International because when you donate money, the gifts of animals (that provide food, income, and education) keep on giving to others.

MC: Where did you learn about Heifer?

IAN: My parents first taught me about this charity.  They showed me an article about Heifer International and let me chose an animal to donate.  I chose a water buffalo that was given to a family in Southeast Asia to work farmland.

MC: What kind of preparation does one have to make before this type of climb?

IAN: My family trained together.  We started by running two miles a day and hiking on the weekends.  We ran 2 miles a day at first and built up to ~4 miles a day.  We also hike 6-9 hours up hill on the weekends.  In the beginning I hated waking up early to run and complained a lot.  Now, I am used to it and the training feels easier. It is nice to spend time with my family and set goals together.

MC: What are your fundraising goals, now that you have met your first goal?

IAN: I have already raised $1,075 on my Crowdrise account for Heifer International.  Before I leave I hope to raise a total of $1,200.

MC: What are you most excited for regarding this trip?

IAN: I am most excited for sleeping in the crater on Kilimanjaro and buying a special artifact from our trip.  In each place we have travelled, I have bought something meaningful to remember my trip by.

MC: What do all of your friends think about this?

IAN: My friends think it is pretty amazing that I get to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro because it is the highest free standing mountain in the world.

MC: Are you scared of heights at all? 

IAN: Actually, every human is born afraid of heights, but some learn to enjoy them.  I don’t remember being afraid of them, but I do enjoy heights now.  I have climbed many mountains with my family like Mt. Washington, Mt. Monadnock, Machu Piccu’s Dead Woman’s Pass, and soon Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

MC: How will you be sharing information during the climb?

IAN: Me and my dad will be taking pictures and hope to be posting them via a sat phone and iPhone.

(To follow Ian's track, click here)

MC: What do you want to be when you grow up?

IAN: I really don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.  I enjoy spending time outside, reading, playing chess and video games.  Perhaps I will have a job as a video game designer, author or engineer.

MC: What would you tell other kids out there thinking about raising awareness for Heifer?

IAN: Kids should know what is happening in the world around them.  Knowing about charities like Heifer is important for pre-teens and teenagers because they can start thinking about others in need.  Giving to charities can happen at any age, kids don’t have to wait until they’re grown up to help people.

Good luck, Ian! Everyone from Heifer wishes you the best of luck on your climb!

Check out Ian's CrowdRise page and keep up with Ian on Tusker.


Maegan Clark

Maegan Clark loves social media even more than Southern sweet tea. She is the Social Media Manager at Heifer International where she uses her skills digital marketing to improve the lives of those in need around the globe. Since working at Heifer, she has deepened her appreciation for the urgency with which we must end global hunger and poverty.