Saturday, May 15, 2010
By Dave Felice
Denver Direct Exclusive
A Denver man is in the midst of walking across the United States to have what he calls “intentional conversations” and independently raise awareness of a global micro-credit program designed to connect individuals.
Twenty-seven-year-old Jonathon Stalls, accompanied by his dog Kanoa (Hawai’ian for “free one”), is trekking from Delaware to California.
“For many years I have longed to engage in a long-term adventure involving the simplicity of a backpack, my two feet, and the rugged and unpredictable terrain of our country and those who inhabit her,” says Stalls. “I am eager to connect, share, and learn from the unique people I will encounter along the way.”
On his web site, www.kivawalk.com, Stalls explains that he is supporting the Kiva Microfunds program: “Kiva’s mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty. Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend to unique entrepreneurs around the globe.”
Stalls emphasizes that he is not directly affiliated with Kiva and is not taking financial donations for the micro credit program. “My number one goal in supporting Kiva is encouraging people to join as members.”
Stalls graduated from Metropolitan State College of Denver last spring, with a degree in Design and Entrepreneurship in the Independent Degree Program. Before embarking on his cross-country walk, he worked at the ECDC African Community Center, a refugee relocation organization in Denver.
“Since living in Ireland (2005-2006), visiting Honduras in 2007, and swapping life stories with many ‘travelers,’ I have craved an adventure that would challenge my daily activities, expectations, and priorities,” writes Stalls. “The speed and growth of our commodity driven and over-communicated culture feeds a personal call to engage in quieter, slower, and more intentional experiences with less.”
Stalls says walking provides a “joy” of meeting new people, and a “thrill of new communities.” He says he anticipates “moments that will challenge my mind, body, and heart.” Stalls is documenting his experiences in a blog he is calling “Walks of Life.”
Stalls says he learned about Kiva in his Fall 2007 social entrepreneurship class at Metro State.
“Kiva empowers individuals to lend $25 or more to an entrepreneur across the globe,” Stalls explains. “By combining micro finance with the Internet, Kiva is creating a global community of people connected through lending. Micro-finance is a significant first-step in helping low-income communities build contributing members who are confident, strong and capable.”
Stalls is using the southern portion of the American Discovery Trail as the foundation for his route. He’s has walked through Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, Ohio Kentucky, Indiana. He’ll cross Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado Utah, and Nevada, on his way to California.
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