UH will play host to March
By Geronimo Rodriguez
Daily Cougar Staff
Hundreds of volunteers from around Houston
will walk Sunday to support a cause that affects families from around the
country every day: helping to save and comfort the lives of premature and
Photo courtesy of UH External
As with last year's walkathon,
UH President Arthur K. Smith, center, will help open festivities for the
March of Dimes WalkAmerica event to be
held on the UH campus beginning at 8 a.m.
e for WalkAmerica is to be a hero for the tiniest baby,
and it's not just a statement for us at the March of Dimes," March of Dimes
Director of Communications for the Texas
Gulf Coast Ernestine Pina-Sandoval said. "We truly feel that everyone can
be a hero.
"We just try to draw it out by getting
people to volunteer and be a part of saving babies' lives."
This is the sixth time UH has played host
to the event. The 32nd Annual March of Dimes WalkAmerica 2002 consists
of a six-mile walk around
the UH campus beginning at 9 a.m. on Cullen
Boulevard near Entrance 14.
Festivities for the event, which will include
a speech by UH President Arthur K. Smith, will begin at 8 a.m.
UH's relationship with the March of Dimes
plays a vital role in the organization, successfully applying every facet
of the community to its cause.
"Over the years, we've succeeded with forming
a strong relationship with the community by having many volunteers come
Pina-Sandoval said. "Many of them are
students who have children of their own.
"We also respect Dr. Smith and everyone
at UH who have allowed us to utilize the expertise of the University."
The UH campus is the largest walk site
in the country — the Bayou City plays host to the event at Ellington Field,
Greenspoint, the Cynthia
Woods Mitchell Pavilion and Fort Bend/
First Colony Mall as well, UH March of Dimes intern Patricia Daniels said.
"We received $3.4 million in donations
from the Houston area just last year," Daniels said. "Every year the donations
have gone up a bit and
we're hoping it will do the same this
"This year our goal for Houston is $3.7
As far as initiating the event through
volunteers, Pina-Sandoval said that, besides raising money, relaying the
ways in which March of Dimes
enhances babies' lives is far more important.
"When we ask people to register for the event, we don't intend for them
to take money from their
pockets, but we want them to ask friends,
co-workers and acquaintances," Pina-Sandoval said. "It's important for
people to realize (March of
Dimes') role in babies' lives and how
it reaches out to a large and diverse group.
"When an unhealthy baby is born, everyone
feels the social and financial impact, and the March of Dimes is always
prepared to take on the task
of addressing these issues."
Alan Buckwalter, chairman of JP Morgan
Chase's southwest region, is the presenting sponsor of this year's WalkAmerica.
JP Morgan Chase is
looking to reach its goal of donating
$300,000 to the effort, Pina-Sandoval said.
"Even in the current environment of corporations
in Houston, we felt that the corporations who were there in the beginning
dedicated to their role in the March of
Dimes," she said.