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Posted: May 7, 2009  : Add to Mixx! Subscribe to stories like this

Athletics: Runners, Donors Help Send Students on Global Learning Journey

Cleveland student funded by race returns after traveling world

CLEVELAND (May 7, 2009) -- A Chagrin Falls 2008 graduate has returned to the United States from an eight-month world-wide trip with Thinking Beyond Borders, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating youth about the economic, political and cultural realities of our world, much thanks to the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K.

The 2008 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon was the avenue to help Thinking Beyond Borders (TBB) raise nearly $16,000 (nearly half of a full scholarship) through participant fundraising to assist Zach Toedtman, the Chagrin Falls High School Football and Lacrosse team captain, in discovering the meaning of "global society."

Toedtman went door-to-door to raise the remaining funds to help send him on his journey around the world to learn about sustainable agriculture in Thailand, the AIDS epidemic in South Africa and public education in China, among others.

"This year, the goal is to raise the full $39,000 scholarship needed for this eye-opening program," said Jennifer Stakich of TBB. "We've got 25 people signed up thus far to run one of the races in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon and help raise the money on May 17, including Zach and his family."

For the second consecutive year, runners in the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon who are not already associated with TBB can show their support for this gap year program by donating to the charity, in an effort to provide one full scholarship to a deserving student that requires financial aid to participate. Runners wishing to run for the charity can sign up at, and then click the "Become a Fundraiser" button. Those not running who wish to still donate may do so at >A HREF="" target="_news">

"The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon has been a wonderful forum for Thinking Beyond Borders," said Stakich. "Not only can we raise much-needed funds for the program, but the marathon is also a great way to get the word out to future participants."

The 2009 TBB program will bring 36 students to four countries to study cultural issues facing that particular area -- clean water in Ecuador, public education in China, sustainable agriculture in India, and AIDS and public health safety in South Africa.

Once travels are completed, the students will return to the United States where they will spend their last five weeks in the program translating what they have learned into action -- visiting with leading politicians and representatives from corporations including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in New York City and Washington, D.C. They will also tour high schools nationwide to discuss the myriad of issues involving international development.

This is the phase that the 2008-09 students are taking part in presently.

"The students have worked hard to convey as much as they can of what they've learned over the last several months into these short presentations, and it's near impossible," explained Stakich. "But I think the students have done a spectacular job condensing the information and passing on one of the most important lessons -- translating what they've learned into action."

If you or your organization is interested in scheduling a presentation with Zach Toedtman, please contact Jennifer Stakich at (502) 558-6880 or

For more information about Thinking Beyond Borders, visit

The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon offers the following opportunities for people to participate in the event: full marathon, half marathon, 10K, full marathon walking division, half marathon walking division, 10K walking division, 5K (run or walk), Kids' Run and Corporate teams. Volunteers are needed for a number of pre-race and race day responsibilities.

For details on the race, or to register for the 32nd Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, call 800-467-3826 or visit

About the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K
The Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K is in its 32nd year of providing a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities. More than 260,000 runners have participated, generating more than $12 million annually to benefit the Cleveland community.

Mission Statement:

  • To provide a running experience for all individuals who want to participate regardless of their abilities.
  • To produce an event that highlights the Cleveland community and provides a positive economic impact for the community.
  • To give charities an opportunity to benefit financially from the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K, along with the new 5K.

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