ATLANTA — An Atlanta couple is dropping their jobs and life in the city for a chance to help others.
Trey and Maddie Cason are planning to tackle the 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail, hiking from Maine to Georgia on a mission. While the Casons have always aspired to hike the A-T, their "Hike 4 Hope" is focused on raising awareness about poverty, an issue close to their hearts.
Trey Cason previously worked with a homeless ministry in Atlanta as well as a refugee re-settlement, work which inspired him to learn more about the issue.
"I was struck with the fact that the lines were never getting shorter. That drove me to study poverty as an issue," he told 11Alive. "What are different organizations doing to address it?" That led me to believe that every individual, every person, every community has the capacity for greatness, the capacity to do things on their own. Sometimes it takes a little help and investment. What can we do to empower people to become who it is they want to be?"
The University of Georgia grads found Global Hope Network International aligned with their mission. The international development organization works across 32 countries, assisting community and village development in five areas: food, water, health, income generation and education.
"At the end of the day we want the village or community to be impressed with their own ability to solve problems," Trey said.
The Casons' "Hike 4 Hope" will also aim to raise one hundred dollars per mile the couple travels. The funds will be used for Global Hope Network's mission in Southeast Asia, where Maddie and Trey will work as humanitarians once they finish the trail. Hiking on behalf of a larger mission is extra motivation, Maddie said.
"That motivation to know that people are going to be helped through the money are being raised, that just says when it's painful or you've got blisters or it's a tough day...you can keep going." Maddie said.
"We thought this would be a neat opportunity to do something we've always wanted to and also, potentially bring about an opportunity to fund this organization and some of their work," Trey said."
They plan to document their journey on social media using #Hike4Hope and www.hike4hope.rocks.