Voices That Care
Say Hello to ... Steve
Every single person in Care2Run’s ecosystem is essential, and we’ve grown so much in three years thanks to all the different individuals who’ve played a part in getting us to where we are.
It is for this reason that we aim to hand this section over to our people – our participants, coaches, volunteers, parents, friends and loved ones – so they can tell you what Care2Run means to them.
This week we say hello to ….. Steve Karan, a pioneer team member who recalls how a meeting at his home way back in 2015 set the course and direction for Care2Run.
SOMETIME in 2015, a group of friends who’d met through various outdoor events decided to explore the possibility of using sports as a means of giving back to society. The idea was, unquestionably, noble. However, before the group could take the next step, they needed to formulate strategies, devise a workable plan of action and, yes, have a meeting.
The first gathering of the group that would eventually become Care2Run was held at pioneer team member Steve’s home. And he recalls now, how all those involved at that first meeting were determined to make a difference.
“Everyone was focused on the task at hand and what was needed. It was a particularly fruitful session, and that laid the foundation for Care2Run and the programmes we did next,” he says.
Here’s Steve with the rest of the story of Care2Run’s early days …
Hello, Steve. It’s great to be able to chat with you. Could you share with us how you got involved with Care2Run and how this amazing project started?
Hey there. I’ve actually known Prem for a long time. Prem started his hiking endeavours with V Trek, a group of ardent hikers of which I was a member. That was about 20 years ago. He was gregarious in his desire to be a fit, capable and experienced hiker. In one expedition to Gunung Nuang, he even packed two, 5kg dumbbells in his backpack. That brought about a lot of laughter from the rest of the group. Later on, when I was attempting my seventh full marathon, I invited Prem to help with my running routine. He’d yet to do a marathon then, and I encouraged him to sign up for one – which he did and completed in a respectable time. From there on, he did more marathons and even went on to feature in a 100km trail run in China and other 100km road runs.
Eventually, we got to know the others – Eric, Jimmy, Elgy, and the rest – through these runs. And sometime in 2015, there was a suggestion that we should try and do something for the community. That’s how Care2Run began.
Care2Run’s first meeting was at your home. How did that come about?
Well, we needed a place to meet and strategise a plan of action and my house was available, so everyone – it might have been over 20 of us if I recall correctly – met there. We broke into smaller groups and brainstormed ideas as well as shared our thoughts about the ideals we wanted to strive for and what we felt our initiative should be about. That was basically how that first meeting went.
Was it difficult in those early days or was the purpose quite clear?
I think it was very clear and that’s why we all wanted to be involved. We could see clearly that what we wanted to do was to help underprivileged children. We saw running as a means to help these kids. But most of all, on top of that, we could envision a structure to assist them – pre-running and post-running – with activities that were designed to instil leadership and skills. There were many of us in the team at that point and even though it was hard to predict if we could scale the project as funding was a concern, it was a good start.
Was the power of sports to affect positive change in young persons always obvious to you?
When we talk of sports at Care2Run, what we mean is activities which help engage children and youths. At Care2Run, we’ve had running, hiking and even rowing at one point. All these are great but there’s also something more which these activities help facilitate and that is the fact that you’re able to forge connections and bonds. Over time, these activities have helped kids who were timid and reserved at the start, like Parthivan and Arun, develop the confidence to express themselves.
Sometime after Care2Run began, the focus shifted slightly to differently-abled young persons. Can you share with us what this period was like?
Denise stood particularly tall in this area when the decision was made to try and engage with differently-abled children. The focus was mainly kids with autism and Denise, knowing the challenges faced by these kids, wanted to try and make an impact in that area. Being a parent herself, she had the empathetic qualities necessary to engage with these children. I remember I was especially touched when she shared about her experiences working with these kids.
We’ve grown quite a bit since that first meeting in 2015. Could you share with us your hopes and aspirations for Care2Run for the future?
I think with an organisation like Care2Run, the challenge and questions might always be: do we do something commercial that will help pay the bills, or do we do something impactful and just? It can be very difficult to try and find the right balance, but I’d like to hope that the meaningful work Care2Run does can help it sustain.