By Dan Majka
“Talking Stick Learning Center is a homeschool center that provides different activities for different age ranges, anywhere from age 4 to about 18, with varying programs,” says 16-year-old Christopher Mrozinski, a participant at Talking Stick and founder of the 5K walk. “There’s a naturalist program, a writing workshop, there’s a younger kids program that’s more of a ‘free do’ sort of thing, where you pick what you’re going to do during the day, but it’s more structured than just a play group.”
Mrozinski is proactive and passionate about social change. His enjoyment of event planning has led him to raise funds for worthy causes such as WHYY, Project H.O.M.E., and more. He says his idea for the walk was born from that same passion.
“I just had the idea because I heard from one of the co-directors that fundraising was needed,” Mrozinski says. “We were desperately needing funds and I’ve been entrusted in event planning for many years, and I was like, ‘how can I help them with the fundraising using the skills that I have?’ And I thought we could do a walk because we’re at an arboretum. So I sort of started from there.”
Mrozinski says the main goal behind the walk is to raise money for supplies for the program. But he adds it’s also meant to be an outreach opportunity for the greater community about what Talking Stick does.
“It’s just an opportunity for people in the public and members of Talking Stick to come out and walk around the arboretum,” Mrozinski says, “and people from the public to come learn about Talking Stick.”
This is just the second year of the event, and after rain dampened fundraising efforts a bit during the inaugural walk, Mrozinski is hopeful that a good turnout this year will not only help fund the homeschool program, but also help the annual walk at the arboretum bloom.
“We hope to have more people,” he says. “We really need people. We would really love for people to come out and help support Talking Stick, and then after the event to then go and tell other people about Talking Stick and about the (Awbury) Arboretum.”
The event includes food, drinks and face painting for the kids. It’s from 9 a.m. to 12:30 pm. on Saturday, March, 28th at Awbury Arboretum in Germantown.
“Come out, learn about the arboretum,” Mrozinski says. “It’s a great time, because things are going to start flowering. And you get to learn about a great organization in the meantime.”