Inspirational SchoolBOX volunteer empowers thousands of Nicaraguan children through sport

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by Rachel SpenceSchoolbox logoJoe Rios went to Nicaragua in 2010 to help build a school and empower a community with SchoolBOX and returned to Canada a changed man. His experience at the Ruben Dario School was “eye opening and created an ever-lasting impact” for the young professional from Ottawa, Canada. Joe’s volunteer experience was overwhelming, emotional and invaluable and helped teach him the importance of gratitude and appreciation. He learned to apply these principles in his daily life.

Joe credits his experiences with the children and communities of Nicaragua with paving the way for a fundraiser he organized in January of 2015. The fundraising event was just a warm up for Rios. Joe decided to run a 50km ultra marathon on King George Island in Antarctica and a half marathon in Punta Arenas, Chile. The two extreme marathons were used as a vehicle to promote the Polar Dash fundraising event.

Joe’s Polar Dash in support of SchoolBOX raised over $5000 and brought together over 100 enthusiastic supporters who ran 5km in blistering -25C weather. The money raised has gone to empower over 1000 Nicaraguan children with educational packages through SchoolBOX’s Supplies 4 Success Program. These students received notebooks, pencils, erasers, pencil sharpeners and rulers. The educational packages went to support the Ruben Dario School, that he helped build, along with the Fabio Gutierrez School in Masaya.

When Joe was made aware of the fact that the money he helped raise would empower the very students that he connected with 5 years earlier, he was overjoyed. Rios stated, “I would love to go back and personally hand out the packages to the children!”

Joe’s dedication to charity and fitness has helped countless children in Nicaragua and exposed hundreds of people to SchoolBOX in the Ottawa Area.

About Joe Rios

Once overweight, he has since embraced fitness, completed countless races, become a certified fitness instructor and ran a 100k ultra-marathon! Most recently, he has just returned from South Africa where he has officially completed his big goal of running a marathon on all 7 continents.

Since his journey to Nicaragua in 2010, Joe has raised $50,000.00 towards charities and has completely turned his life around. His remarkable story has inspired countless people to get fit and to raise money for worthy charities around the world.

About SchoolBOX

SchoolBOX is a non-profit that provides simple, cost-effective programs to help children achieve basic education in Nicaragua. A lack of school supplies is one of the main reasons that over 50% of children in Nicaragua drop out of primary school

In addition to the Supplies 4 Success Program, SchoolBOX also provides basic infrastructure such as classrooms, washrooms and playing fields through their Tools 4 Schools Program. They encourage school attendance through sport and recreation with their Soccer Dreams Program, and provide books and much needed learning materials through their Books 4 Kids Program.

Joe Rios - Antarctica
Joe Rios at the finish line of the 50km ultra-marathon on King George Island in Antarctica (Feb 2015)
Joe Rios - Chile
Joe Rios at the finish line of the half marathon in Punta Arenas, Chile (Feb 2015)
Joe Rios - Fabio Gutierrez School
367 students and teachers received educational packages at Fabio Gutierrez School in Masaya, Nicaragua, thanks to Joe’s efforts.
Joe Rios - Ruben Dario School
631 students and teachers received educational packages at the Ruben Dario School in Leon, Nicaragua, thanks to Joe’s efforts.
Joe's Polar Dash
Joe’s Polar Dash took place in January of 2015 and attracted over 100 participants.