“If you focus on a big idea and a big goal, you can make it happen through small, actionable steps,” says Jessie O’Brien of Westlake CrossFit in Austin, Texas.
Through the help of fundraisers like 500 Burpees for Time, O’Brien and CrossFitters from CrossFit Calgary in Canada traveled to Sri Ram Ashram in Haridwar, India, this past January. The ashram is an orphanage, school, charitable medical clinic and home of CrossFit Sri Ram Ashram, founded by humanitarian Rashmi Cole.
“We’re just coming down there to help bring awareness to their cause, teach them a little bit about what we know from the States and also learn from them,” O’Brien says.
His group included Brett Marshall, second-place finisher in the 2007 CrossFit Games, and someone O’Brien says was like a “Michael Jordan” to the kids. The group also brought along much-needed equipment.
O’Brien says visiting the orphanage was a profound experience for him.
“I was very surprised at the level of proficiency of how kids halfway around the world could move,” O’Brien says. “That really drove home the feeling that you don’t need all these fancy shoes or equipment or coaches . Nothing will ever replace that commitment and passion and hard work, right, that all these kids have put into their level of fitness.”
For more information, or to help, please visit www.sriramfoundation.org.
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Additional reading: The Extraordinary Vijai Raj by Jesse O'Brien, published April 6, 2011.