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Kids for kids: Ninth annual All Day Fore Africa fundraiser is Wednesday

WORTHINGTON -- For the ninth consecutive year, individuals in the Worthington area will have the chance to make a difference in kids' lives across the world -- all while participating in activities they love without leaving their southwestern Min...

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A young boy in Rwanda is excited about the fresh bread he receives with support from Worthington-based All Day Fore Africa nonprofit organization. (Special to The Globe)

WORTHINGTON - For the ninth consecutive year, individuals in the Worthington area will have the chance to make a difference in kids’ lives across the world - all while participating in activities they love without leaving their southwestern Minnesota community.

An abundance of activities will take place Wednesday across Worthington during the Ninth Annual All Day Fore Africa.

“Our organization is all about kids for kids,” said nonprofit organization founder Kate Lesnar of the annual event. “It’s a really cool concept of all these kids doing what they love and they’re passionate about here to make a difference over in Rwanda.”

A variety of activities for youths and adults alike will again be on tap during this year’s event. Organizers are also excited new additions including aquinastics, soccer and yoga.

Activities begin at 6 a.m. with pickleball at the Center for Active Living. Poolside yoga begins at 8:20 a.m. and golf at 9 a.m., both at GreatLIFE in Worthington. Tennis begins at 10 a.m., lap swimming at 10 a.m. at the YMCA and soccer at 3 p.m. at Buss Fields. The 5K Walk/Run for Rwanda will take stride at 5:30 p.m. at GreatLIFE.

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A meal of ribs and chicken will be served at GreatLIFE following the walk/run, and a silent auction and entertainment will take place during dinner. The meal will include a celebration, where a human thermometer will come to life as the organization and its donors visibly climb toward the $40,000 goal.

Ticket holders will have unlimited access to all the day’s activities and receive an AFDA T-Shirt.

Individuals across the country can also participate in the organization’s “All Day Fore Africa Wherever You Are” event. A purchased ticket will earn participants across the country a T-Shirt.

According to Lesnar, AFDA’s $40,000 goal will support two beneficiaries: Mission Abana and the Jami Cummings Learn 2 Swim Program.

Mission Abana, which began several years ago, feeds almost 1,000 kids at two schools in Kibeho, Rwanda, Lesnar said.

“Mission Abana not only feeds the kids, but also supports the local economy,” she added, as the food is purchased from a local bakery and ingredients are bought from farmers and merchants in the area. The program also provides youths vitamins, which are donated by Sterling Drug in Worthington.

“We have seen firsthand how much they have helped the kids grow and become healthy,” the 2013 Worthington High School graduate said.

Lesnar’s mom, Kathy Lesnar, said several years ago ADFA also wanted to support a charity that would benefit kids locally. They chose the Jami Cummings Learn 2 Swim Program, which offers swimming lessons at the YMCA to second-graders enrolled in area schools.

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Not only does the AFDA organization and annual event support kids abroad, but it supports kids locally in a different way, Lesnar explained.

In accordance with AFDA’s tagline, “You’re never too young (or old) to make a difference,” the organization has a junior board of directors.

“The junior board allows them to grow in leadership skills and learn more about the social justice issues and the joy about helping people around the world,” Kathy Lesnar said.

This year’s co-presidents are Cassie Schulz, 10, and Bennett Oberloh, 11.

The duo have worked as a team in a variety of capacities to support the cause, including selling tickets, collecting donations for the silent auction and manning a cookie and donation booth.

Schulz pointed out that fundraising is not a competition between she and Oberloh.

Oberloh agreed, adding that he has learned that the excitement surrounding materialistic items fades, but joy and happiness received from helping others is everlasting. That attitude is exactly what organizers had hoped youths would learn from taking on a junior leadership role.

“We try and teach them about the joy you feel in your heart knowing you’re making a positive difference in the life of somebody across the world you may never meet,” Kathy Lesnar said. “It’s not about the reward here, but the reward we get in our heart.”

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Since its inception in 2010, All Day Fore Africa has accomplished implementation of a water system to conserve rain water for safe consumption, and construction of a sports area and medical center. AFDA has also begun a scholarship program, implemented a prayer partner program and delivered shoes, T-shirts and school supplies.

In addition to Mission Abana, the organization’s current project is an ADFA Children’s Academy, Lesnar said, which gives students a place to learn new skills - from English, painting, music, dance and more - outside of regular school hours.

Lesnar and her sister, Annie Lesnar, said they attribute AFDA’s success not only to the generous community and surrounding area, but to God.

Tickets for Wednesday’s All Day Fore Africa event may be purchased in advance on the organization’s website, alldayforeafrica.com/join-an-event, or by contacting Jen Schulz at 370-0395.

Registration and ticket sales will also be available at 9 a.m. at GreatLIFE the day of the event.

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