Gardner-Webb Students Sponsor 5K to Rescue Enslaved Children

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Community Invited to Participate in Event to Combat Human Trafficking 

Two runners jump for joy as they reach the Rescue Race Finish Line
Photo by Lisa Martinat

BOILING SPRINGS, N.C.—Since 2016, a 5K event started by students from Gardner-Webb University has raised more than $10,000 to help rescue 10 enslaved children in Ghana, Africa. This year’s Rescue Race will be held Sept. 14, during GWU’s annual Family Weekend.

With help from the community, members of Release the Captives, a human-trafficking awareness club, raised more than $3,000 last year. They hope to increase participation this year and collect more donations to help as many children as possible.

“All the proceeds will go directly to Challenging Heights, a non-profit organization based in Ghana, Africa, that works to rescue and rehabilitate enslaved children who have been trafficked in the fishing industry off of Lake Volta,” shared Aalliyah Perkins, club treasurer. “We support this group, because our friends at Challenging Heights do great work and really help combat trafficking by taking action. All participants and volunteers of the race will have the privilege to be a part of ending slavery for good.”

A little girl crosses the Rescue Race Finish Line
Photo by Lisa Martinat

Perkins, of Gastonia, N.C., is a junior business administration major and Spanish minor. “I support this cause because it’s truly a blessing to have a part in helping these children in any way possible,” she noted. “Many people aren’t aware that modern day slavery exists, let alone is more prominent today than in the past. So, I am grateful for the tremendous privilege to be able to advocate and support those who physically go out and help these children. I truly believe that slavery can be ended if we bind together and stand against it.”

Registration for the race is $15 for students and $20 for community members. Check-in starts at 8:15 a.m. and the race begins at 9 a.m. Participants may walk or run the route, which goes around campus. Register online at For more information, email

Located in the North Carolina foothills, Gardner-Webb University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university. Gardner-Webb emphasizes a strong student-centered experience and rigorous academics to prepare students to become effective leaders within the global community. Ignite your future at