On December 4, 2022, 54 volunteers from the illustrious Palm Desert Health Academy, under the leadership of the wonderful Mr. Ron Paiz, participated in the local Indian Wells/La Quinta Ironman Triathlon. The Ironman Triathlon is a 70.3-mile course that includes a 1.2-mile swim in Lake Cahuilla; a 56-mile bike ride through La Quinta, Thermal and Indian Wells; and a 13.1-mile run through the Indian Wells Golf Resort and Tennis Garden. Each contestant has eight and a half hours to complete the strenuous course. Volunteers arrived around 6 a.m. and left at 4 p.m. Considering it was just after dawn, they were all drowsy. However, as time passed they gained some motivation from the contestants’ energy. 

mentoring the future

 With 2,500 competitors from 31 countries and 48 U.S. states, the Health Academy volunteers replenished the athletes’ energy by passing out a variety of snacks, water and energy drinks. The stations were “Aid Station #3” and “Aid Station #4.” Once they got there, the participants received lime green Ironman volunteer shirts. Some also received backpacks with the Ironman logo. Collectively, the group looked eager to help. To make sure the volunteers were also nourished to help do the same for the runners, pizza was provided for a filling lunch. 

The helpers would attempt to rest, but the parched and famished runners that kept passing by their stations signaled that such a choice may not be an option. But since there were numerous volunteers, they were able to take shifts and eventually take a break. 

As they received a plethora of “thank yous” and other forms of gratitude, the Health Academy volunteers were proud and able to regain some energy from this praise and subsequently began to work zealously. In the beginning, the volunteers found themselves confused because they had never participated in such an event. Nevertheless, they got the hang of their assigned work, and after a while, started to organize a system of passing out food and drinks.

At the end of the event, the volunteers were all exhausted. However, they felt accomplished that they were able to help out. They loved the event and according to fellow Palm Desert High School students, Kaela Martin, Yejin Jung, and Ifra Iyoob, they “would love to participate again with more volunteers.” Additionally, the students remarked that they learned a lot from the runners and volunteering. “We learned how runners don’t give up even if they run out of breath, and we also learned that volunteering requires passion and love.”

With special thanks to teacher Ron Paiz. For more information on OneFuture programs, contact Kim McNulty at [email protected].

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