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Teenaged Hometown Hero focuses energy on African countries

Ellie (back row, third from left) and her family with special friends on a trip to Africa. Photo submitted.

While other 10-year old girls were dreaming of Britney Spears concert tickets and a new bike, Ellie Ambrose was dreaming about helping kids in the slums of Africa. To the little girl who loved her family and loved to run, a 5K Run and Family Fun Day seemed a logical way to raise money to help the kids she dreamed of helping.

With the support of her parents and family, Ellie’s Fun Run became a reality. Ellie is now 19 and during the past nine years her dream has become an annual Middle Tennessee event with thousands of runners and “Hero” fundraisers who have raised more than $410,000 to fund the education of thousands of African children who are now realizing a life outside of the slums of their youth through the New Dawn School the Run sponsors. Several students who graduated are now in college, law school and IT school.

“We have been able to build on to the school and put in science labs, a library and a meeting room for the school,” said Tiffany Lewis, who has been volunteering for the event for several years. “This year we donated e-readers for all the students in the school.”

Most of the children walk one or two hours to and from school each day through somewhat dangerous areas and carrying books can bring on danger, according to Lewis.

In May of this year, more than 1,000 runners participated in Ellie’s Run for Africa 5K and Family Fun Day.

It was the event and coinciding trips to Nairobi, Kenya, that inspired her and her husband to adopt their daughter, Feruza, who is from Kenya.

“Ellie’s Run is all about working together as a community to make a big impact on the greater community,” Lewis said.

People from all over Middle Tennessee and across the globe support this cause, she added.

It was the dream of a 10-year old little girl, which inspired others to help others that lead Lewis to nominate Ellie as a Darrell Waltrip Automotive Hometown Hero.

“All this comes down to having a dream,” Waltrip said. “Somebody liked it, created a plan and worked it out. Our Hometown Heroes are some of the greatest people in the Franklin area.”

Ellie received a trophy and a $500 donation made in her honor to Ellie’s Run for Africa.

Posted on: 6/20/2013


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