THE IMPACT OF VOLUNTEERING
EmBe, which was the YWCA when I first came across the work of the organization, was a valuable tool in helping out my family. I am a mom of two teenage boys and at one point in my life, I was a mom of two elementary aged boys. We utilized a lot of programming offered at the facility, not just as parents of children, but also for our own personal uses (Tribute to Women, In Her Shoes, Women Leadership program) and it always has had a strong presence within the community.
We were attending All City Elementary, which was a tight knit community of parents and students. I was a moderate runner and had many conversations about it with a select few people, I never voluntarily mentioned coaching, but to my dismay, was never asked to coach when the Girls on the Run program entered the ACE school. This program has been a signature program at EmBe for quite some time and known nationally. I thought, why not a boys program? The topics covered in the Girls on the Run curriculum are important for boys as well as girls, so why not try and start something similar. It’s all about ways to be confident, make good decisions, be good role models and be comfortable with his or her emotions.
I reached out to EmBe to see if they wanted to start a partnership to bring a boys program to Sioux Falls. Stacy Stahl (Executive Director of Youth Programs at EmBe) and I originally thought of putting a curriculum together ourselves, but then came across the “Let Me Run” program that was already serving boys in the Charlotte, NC area and growing across the country. After a year of a lot of due diligence, we piloted the program in our first two elementary schools and we had coaches signed up to volunteer. I loved the first season, because you saw the impact that you made in these boys lives. The one boy I remember very fondly was AJ and I still see him in Middle School today. He came into the program with an attitude, but left with passion and love for the program, because he came again the following year.
There are a lot of stories to tell and boys you didn’t feel were dedicated to it, but would show improvement throughout the 7 week program. We, as coaches, knew there was a difference we were making every time we showed up for these boys. If you love running and have a heart for kids, this is the right volunteer opportunity for you. I believe that every person that reaches out to our boys and mentors through Let Me Run finishes the season with such a satisfaction that is beyond words. Adults and kids need outlets, why not make it running. The program is so much more than just running, it’s about teamwork, building relationship skills, creating friendships, amplifying their self-esteem and living an active lifestyle.
There is so much stress in the world and if we could all remember to just take a big deep breath and not put so many pressures on ourselves and just RUN! Running can be an outlet for many people and why not start that early in these young boys and girls.
Let Me Run is a great way to give back to the boys in our community and to share their passions for activity, growth and perseverance.
Give boys the opportunity to be themselves and run with it!
Let Me Run Program Impact