A previous year’s Walk/Run for Education. (Photo from Kaleidoscope’s Walk/Run for Education photo gallery.)

Kaleidoscope Child Foundation ran it back with their annual 5K Walk/Run for Education this past weekend. On Sunday Sept. 10, hundreds completed a 5K in Virginia Highlands, with all proceeds going towards the foundation for education.

Kaleidoscope began in 2004 after the founder David Ault took a trip to the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia. After witnessing extreme poverty there, Ault made it his mission to give back.

Since then, the foundation has served rural communities, with a focus on the children in those communities, in Cambodia, India, Guatemala and the United States. 

The proceeds from the 5K on Sunday went into the core areas of the foundation: education, clean water, public health and life skills.

Ian Folker, vice president of Kaleidoscope Child Foundation, said the event is their biggest fundraiser of the year.

“All the money we raise goes directly to our schools, to our children, to our projects,” Folker said. 

This year’s 5K marks the fifth race from Kaleidoscope. The race originally began as a walk along the BeltLine for its first three iterations, and last year was moved to Virginia Highlands. Each year, said Folker —aside from a COVID-19 interruption — the event has gained more traction.

“This year is the biggest ever — we’re already close to $110,00,” Folker said.

Around 60 people signed up for this year’s race — the most the foundation has ever had.

While the fundraiser is for education, Folker said there is no education without clean water and healthy habits. The money will go into a miscellaneous fund that will be used in the area most urgent for each community.

One of the best parts about the fundraiser 5K, Folker said, is seeing the effort come to fruition in various projects around the world.

“My biggest highlight was some years ago, the money I was able to personally raise built an entire building at one of our Cambodia sites,” Follker said. “Another few years back, I raised the money for our school in Lakhanpur, India , which is that town’s first school ever and the biggest building in the entire village. That makes me very proud.”

According to Kaleidoscope’s website, the construction of the school was finished in 2019 and 200 are now served at the location.

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