Running for Resilience

When a student comes to one of our schools, it’s usually because they have experienced some form of trauma that is making it difficult to succeed in the classroom. Our goal is always to help students heal from that trauma and successfully transition back to the school in their neighborhood. Therapy and specialized curriculum are necessary in this process, but some students also need other ways to grow their confidence and resilience.

That’s where our running clubs come in.

Our running clubs are extra-curricular groups that regularly participate in 5 and 10ks, with some youth even going on to run full marathons. Nearly 40 students, ages 10-18, participate at any given time at our Gillis and Ozanam Campuses.

 “We accept any youth who have a willingness to work hard and are able to get along with their peers and the coaching staff,” said Randy Smith, Running Club coach at our Ozanam Campus.

 Coach Smith’s passion for club members extends well beyond just seeing them meet their running goals. While guiding the students through the highs and lows of training, competing and team building, he often gets to witness substantial growth as they heal from the trauma that brought them to us in the first place.

“We stress to the kids that the Running Club is like a therapy group,” Randy said. “It’s a good way to make new friends and work on social skills, and it helps them get rid of some of their frustrations and anger. They also receive the health benefits of working out several times a week.”

It makes a deep impact. Here are just a few of the responses students gave when asked why they participate in our running clubs:

It takes a lot of work and resources to make a program like this successful. Even with the amazing staff and volunteers that we already have, needs still exist. “We do have quite a few expenses with entry fees to the races and running shoes and gear,” Randy said. “We have limited funds at this time, and there is little parental involvement, so we depend on financial assistance from the local community to help keep the running club going."

If you are interested in donating toward our running clubs or volunteering, please contact Leah at leah.kent@cornerstonesofcare.org.