My name is Lago Baroni; I am a young athlete with a great social sensitivity. Since very little I began to fight for my dreams and I am now an ultra marathoner. A year ago I became a “Friend of Heart” and support of SOS Children’s Villages Venezuela. My commitment is to help children, adolescents and youth who are under the care of the village to fight for their goals as I do.
One of the activities I enjoyed most this year was the “Open Day” held on 19 May, which also commemorated the International Day of Families. On reaching the village I was surprised to see a well-organized house development project consisting of twelve houses, with open space areas. Upon entering, I was immediately received with the laughter of happy children playing and enjoying the day with much enthusiasm, and open doors for me.
I started the tour and I noticed that all the houses were decorated, and the theme was flowers. Each house differed depending on the subject: pink, cayenne, sunflowers, and many more, all were decorated by the children themselves. Also, food and drinks had been carefully prepared for the visitors to share with the family, the SOS mothers and aunts.
In one of the houses I visited I met Pedrito, a small four-year old kid, he approached me and very kindly gave me a hug. After a while I brought food and Pedrito looked at me, so I asked him “Would you like to eat?” He shook his head, meaning no, and replied: “No, because here on the chair you cannot eat, one should eat at the table “. I was surprised how smart he was, so I replied, “You are right, one is not supposed to eat in the living room.” I got up and went to the dining area and asked if I could eat there. And he said “Yes.” Actually I was struck by a four year old correcting me in such a polite way.
The day went on, and there came the activity of releasing balloons and making a wish. It was nice to see the girls and adolescents with happy faces and great expectations, releasing balloons and having fun. This activity was followed by the gift award act that could not have been missed, to SOS mothers and aunts, the real heroes who give their love and dedication to the children, so they are well cared for and feel the warmth of a home.
Finally, it was my turn to show these young people a video of a race in which I participated, EMA Race Show 2011. After the show I gave a short talk entitled: “An SOS Friend Shares Sports and Miles”. At this time, I took advantage to show slides of my passion: sports. How wonderful it is to practice, the benefits and discipline thereof. My intention was to make it clear that the obstacles must be overcome and dreams and goals should not be abandoned, because with perseverance and discipline one can achieve everything one intends. As I always say, with “mind and heart!”
It was time to say goodbye, and I was really happy, with a heart full of joy. Before I left I promised that I would visit them again, and have a sporting activity to share with everybody, together, as a family, we will play and have fun.