Caring for Cambodia’s third annual “Ugly Sweater Run”


Photo Courtesy of Mrs. Tiffany Owens

On Sunday, Nov. 19, Caring for Cambodia will be holding their third annual Ugly Sweater Run around Butler Lake. Participants from last year’s event are pictured above.

Caring for Cambodia’s third annual Ugly Sweater Run will be held on Sunday, Nov. 19,  to raise money for the club’s service projects.

“Caring for Cambodia’s mission is to educate the youth to hopefully raise a stronger and more involved society and economy for Cambodia’s future,” said junior Ashley Pignone, one of CFC’s board members, in an email.

Cambodia began to struggle when Pol Pot and the Communist party took over in 1925; this group was widely known as the Khmer Rouge. To make things even worse, there was the Cambodian Genocide in the 1970s. Anybody who was educated or looked even the slightest bit educated would be killed for fear that they would take over the government, junior, Alex Herring explained.

Cambodia is still trying to get back on its feet and recover from those tragic events. CFC is there to “built schools and staff them with teachers, along with educating the teachers on teaching material and strategies,” stated Alex Herring in an email.

The Ugly Sweater Run is CFC’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Last year, they had 80 people attend and raised nearly $2,500. Their first year, they had 45 people run. The members of the club also find sponsors from local businesses in the area to help them raise money.

The run consists of a one-and-a-half-mile fun run around the Butler Lake and everybody wears an ugly holiday sweater or just an ugly sweater in general. The money raised pays for the materials, engineers, and laborers that teach the members of the club how to construct the projects that they do in Cambodia. On last summer’s trip, they made a sidewalk for the people of Cambodia.

“The goal of the run itself is to simply get some exercise and have fun, but to members of the club, the added goal is to make money for the trip that we take during the summer, which consists of going to Cambodia, and doing a service project at one of the schools sponsored by CfC there,” Herring said.

In terms of the preparation for this event, CFC has to get permission from the village of Libertyville to run through neighborhoods.

“Club members have been working hard the past couple of weeks to get sponsors, make posters, and figure out everything we need to do to make this successful,” said senior Hayden Marth in an email.

Members of the club are allowed to participate in the run but most choose to help set up and cheer on runners at the checkpoints.

“The reason we do all this is with one primary goal in mind, which is to help rehabilitate the country of Cambodia through educational means,” expressed Herring.

Although the club won’t be going to Cambodia this year because of political issues that deem it unsafe for LHS students to go, the club will continue to promote “how much the country needs help because there is so much poverty and so much fear [in Cambodia],” explained Mrs. Tiffany Owens, the club’s faculty advisor.

In addition to the Ugly Sweater Run, CFC will be sponsoring a mobile packing event with Feed My Starving Children on Monday, Dec. 18. This will be held at a warehouse in Mundelein.

“We are trying to get as many LHS students as possible to really show the community, and really the Chicago area, how dedicated we are to supporting [the Cambodians’] cause,” stated Mrs. Owens.