Beyond the Finish Line

Beyond the Finish Line

Young Olympic hopeful running with purpose

By: Henry Guarin, Compassion Colombia Communications Specialist   |   Posted: May 20, 2004

Young Olympic hopeful running with purpose
Milton Pé²¥z warms up at Tunal Park in Bogotá® He has been racing for five years and is a city champion. He is working toward becoming a national champion and representing Colombia in the Olympics.

It is Saturday morning in Bogotá Tunal Park. A group of children of different ages have gathered for athletic training. All of them dream of becoming champions one day. Some of them already are.

City Champion

Milton Leonardo Péliz has been a Bogotá Compassion Champion of Athletes the past three years. He is also a Bolí¡r City champion and ranks among the top 10 boys his age (12-year-olds) in the 100-meter and 200-meter races. Bolí¡r City is a large community south of Bogota.

For the last five years, Milton has had the encouragement and support of the New Life in Christ Social Ministry Student Center (CO-319). Initially, he began training with the project's tutors and during the last two years, he has also been helped by specialized coaching.

Milton works hard at his running. However, athletic training isn't the whole story. New Life also provides him regular medical care and healthy food, which contribute to his good performance on the track. Additionally, he receives school supplies and tutoring, training in personal hygiene and nutrition and, most important, instruction in the Word of God.

Running with Hope

Milton lives with his mother, Flor. Because she must work outside the home, she gets needed help from New Life: it is a safe place for Milton to be when he isn't in school. Flor has become a Christian as a result of the parents' meetings at the student center and local church that supports the center. Milton has too. He enjoys attending Bible class and vacation Bible school.

In the second grade at public school, Milton's best subject is math. He lives in a community where eight percent of the children don't attend school and only one out of four students completes elementary school. Few go on to graduate from high school but Milton dreams of going to college and becoming a petroleum engineer.

And his dreams don't stop there. He longs to be a national champion and to represent Colombia in the Olympics. Beyond that, he would like to start an athletics school for children where he can give them the same opportunity he has had to come to know Jesus and to find new life.

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