Walk All You Can

UCI campus was home to the second Compassion Water Walk-A-Thon, hosted by OC community groups Compassion Service Society (CSS) and Bodhi Youth of America on Sunday, Nov. 14.

About 500 participants took part in the walk circuit, completing either a 5K track around Ring Road, a “Walk with a Challenge” where walkers carried one-gallon water jugs or a “Walk All You Can” option. Community member participants came from all age levels, with a strong youth presence of about 200 high school participants. The day’s activities included music, games, activities and raffles on Ring Road and in Aldrich Park. Games in Aldrich Park intended to build community ties and were supplied by largely recycled materials. The group began planning for the event four months ago.

The event was organized by Bodhi Youth of America, a relatively new youth group of high school students formed several years ago, and supported by their parent group CSS. They intend to raise money for their community service projects to provide water filters for third world countries. CSS’s two major projects entail raising money for jerry can water filters and donating them to communities in need in Vietnam and Haiti. Jerry can water filters remove parasites, bacteria, viruses, fungi and waterborne pathogens from water and hold approximately five gallons. CSS donates one water filter per family, which can be used hundreds of times to produce clean water before it must be replaced. CSS aims to fund 100,000 filters from Sunday’s event.

CSS is a Buddhist community group that fosters well-being through an integrative health approach, providing classes in tai chi and meditation with the aim of mental and physical growth. Their major outreach efforts are providing clean water tools to third world countries after natural disasters.

“We’re happy to see many new faces today … to me today was very successful, we have a very rich giving community,” said Hanh Le, a volunteer with CSS.

Registration fees cover a T-shirt and food for the day, with all profits going to CSS charity water projects. Adult registration was $25, with student registration being $10. Donations were also collected from community members who could not walk.

“We’re really happy with the turn-out,” said Tiffany Dang, volunteer Youth Leader for Bodhi Youth of America and recent high school graduate.

“Our mission is to heal the world, we are a group of friends … not religious-based,” said Kathlynn Ly, Assistant Project Manager. Bodi Youth of America started planning the Walk-A-Thon four months ago.

Bodi Youth of America’s next major event is its holiday Hug-A-Thon and holiday gift-drive coming in December. Next month CSS will host its major three-day event on Dec. 17-19 titled Peace Mandala in Anaheim. The event will feature large meditation events, led by Monk Hang Truong, for which CSS expects about 1,000 participants.