Running Towards the Future

This October marks the third consecutive year that Clarisol Duque will train and run the Chicago Marathon as a charity runner for the Big Shoulders Fund Racing Team. Training for a marathon is a very challenging endeavor. She trains on top of the fact that she is the Chicago Director of the Office of Senator Dick Durbin and is the mother of two young children. In order to make it work she trains very early in the morning. “In those early hours of the morning as I make my way to Chicago’s lakefront,” says Clarisol, “I witness hardworking men and women making their way to bus stops and train lines to get to their jobs. When I see these individuals, I see my own father who has worked his whole life leaving his home hours before the sun will come up to make it to a back-breaking job.”

These hardworking men and women remind her of her parents who put her through Catholic school at Maternity BVM, a Big Shoulders Fund school in Humboldt Park. “I know that when I am training my small sacrifice helps to raise dollars to help a family who wants to give their child the opportunity to attend a Big Shoulders Fund school. And every single minute of my run is worth that effort.”

Clarisol’s initial involvement with Big Shoulders came when she realized that her elementary school, Maternity BVM, was on the verge of closing due to low enrollment. She and her husband, Omar, felt very strongly about getting involved and making an impact. They connected with Big Shoulders and started a small scholarship program at Maternity BVM and were asked to join the school board. Maternity BVM’s enrollment has since increased and the school continues to provide an important educational opportunity for the surrounding community. Clarisol also joined the Chairmen’s Advisor Council where she has served on the Executive Committee, the Lend a Shoulder Day Committee, and the Service Engagement Committee. Clarisol has also served on the Board of Directors for Big Shoulders for nearly eight years.

“For many families like mine, a Catholic school education is an important part of a values-based education rooted in service to the community and service to each other. I believe in this for our children and I believe in the ability for all families who desire that same education to be able to access it. By framing the conversation around making Catholic education available for all we can work to expand educational opportunities for children and families across Chicago. Catholic schools are a vital piece of our educational system and we need to continue to invest in Catholic schools. I envision Catholic schools thriving for future generations of Chicagoans.”

Inspired by Clarisol's story? You can donate to her fundraising efforts As she runs for Big Shoulders Fund  at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon.