Atlanta nonprofit’s CEO walking to Guatemala

John Hull has been to Guatemala several times, always traveling by air.

This time Hull, 54, is hitting the pavement, converting a several-hour flight into a four-month walk.

Hull, president and CEO of the Atlanta-based nonprofit EQUIP Leadership, and others plan to walk and bicycle 2,400 miles from Atlanta to Guatemala City to call attention to the ongoing need to build leadership there in improving education, healthcare, poverty and social issues.

”I’m going to walk and tell our story and the story about transformational leadership,” said Hull, who logged 22 miles Monday and plans to walk the majority of the way. The group reached Union City on Tuesday.

He doesn’t think everyone will go the entire distance, but expects people to join and leave as the relay progresses.

Guatemala has experienced decades of civil conflict in which tens of thousands died. While the conflict ended in 1996, the Central American nation is still plagued by criminal gangs and poverty, particularly in rural areas.

Rosa Maria Merida de Mora, the consul general of Guatemala in Georgia, said, “What EQUIP is going to do is help build better communities. That will be wonderful.”

EQUIP, a Johns Creek Christian-based nonprofit, was founded in 1996 by John Maxwell, a best-selling author and leadership expert. To date, EQUIP has provided leadership training in 174 countries

During a recent trip to Guatemala, Hull and Maxwell met with leaders in business, government, education, arts, the church and media to discuss the national situation and what could be done to help. The organization has trained leaders in Guatemala since 1998.

“We want businesses to say, let this not just be about profits,” Hull said. ‘Let’s take our resources and invest in communities where we are. We want church leaders to go outside of the four walls of the church and start literacy programs in the neediest neighborhoods.”

Hull, who expects to arrive in Guatemala in June, hopes to raise $1 million for leadership training there and elsewhere.

He is also chronicling his journey on Twitter at @equipworldrelay and on a website (www.equipworldrelay.org).

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