Making A Difference: Clare Whitney

This time a year ago, Clare Whitney was a bundle of nervous energy. Then a Junior at Schroon Lake Central School, it was on the eve of organizing her first ever 5K Run to raise funds for her favorite charity: a project to supply school lunches for hungry kids in Nicaragua.

“I had never done anything like this ever. I had two people pre-register and I had no idea how many would show up. We had 45 at the run that day. I was ecstatic,” Clare told Schroon Laker today.

That event raised more than $5,000, Clare’s goal this year “The most surp part for me was how a small town like Schroon could come out and raise so much money.

This year 7 folks have pre-registered and Clare has 30 responses from runners via Facebook. The 5K starts at 9.30am at the school.

The event  is called Hearts and Feet “Corazones y Pies” and is sponsored by the North Country Mission of Hope. The race name is a play on words --  Hearts and Hands “Corazones y Manos”, the Mission’s motto.

Clare got involved with the Mission of Hope on a humanitarian trip to Nicaragua where she had witnessed first-hand the poverty and hunger experienced by young children -- and their deplorable living conditions.

“My stomach dropped, I got goose bumps. From that point on I was different,” Clare told us last year

“Up until that point I was feeling happy about the work we were doing on the mission. I was journaling and was feeling guilty and a little sad that I hadn’t had my mission moment.”

But everything changed after she met an 11-year-old girl, Izayana at the Chiquilistagua Public School, which is housed in what Clare believes is an old auto shop.

“The windows are broken, the floors are concrete, there are two bathrooms that are barely usable. We spent some of our time on the mission installing electricity in two rooms of the school. After meeting Izayana everything was different and that’s when I sponsored her.”

In the days before meeting Izayana, Clare and her group, part of the North Country Mission of Hope, had helped build 13 home shelters. It was the 44th trip of the Plattsburg, New York based group. Among those on the trip was fellow Schroon Laker and mission veteran, Bill Calmbacher.

“They are very humble homes made from wood and corrugated metal. Each home costs $650 and the Nicaraguans who will live in them help with the construction”.

Clare still keeps in touch with Izayana, now 12, and will be seeing her in July when she returns for a two week trip.

To learn more about the run click here or call Clare at (518)791-7766 or  

Clare Whitney starts the runners at the 2012  Corazones y Pies Race

Clare Whitney starts the runners at the 2012  Corazones y Pies Race