February 8, 2018 –
One of the benefits of our expanded Acts of Faith Community is our association with an amazing program for youth — the Monroe Milers. Here is a brief introduction recently written as part of a grant application by one of the Milers’ founders, Nancy Allinger.
Monroe Milers is a 100 % volunteer operated, high quality, developmentally appropriate urban youth running program. Over 8 weeks, kids train for a 5K race. The program began in 2011 with three coaches and seven kids. Last fall, over 50 youth trained with 30 volunteer coaches for the Pumpkins in the Park 5K race. The program has expanded from being only a 5K training program to including a young runners group (ages six and seven) that trains for a one mile run and a walking group. Over the years, several children (and coaches) with disabilities have joined our program. A growing number of parents joined the Monroe Milers to serve as coaches or extra adult support, making the program a family fitness opportunity.
Monroe Milers offers two training sessions, one in the fall, and one in the spring. The fall session is held for one hour on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons, at school #35, during the months of September and October. It culminates with the Pumpkins in the Park 5K in late October. A similar program runs March through April, with the Flower City/Wegmans Family 5K serving as the graduating race. Training runs start at school #35.
Every child that participates in the program is fitted for a pair of high quality running shoes, receives a t-shirt, tries out various healthy snacks and earns running related attendance awards (socks, water bottles, visors, bib belts, etc.).
Our organization was recognized in May 2015 by the Monroe County Legislature for our service and dedication to the youth of our community.
The influence of this program on our youth is amazing. Nancy continues:
In 2015 and 2016, the Monroe Milers fielded three relay teams in the Rochester Marathon. Our veteran youth runners and a few coaches each ran 5 or more mile legs of the marathon. Teams included a youth whose family borders on homelessness, a youth who has lived in Hillside’s group homes, and a youth who is the oldest of six children and whose family receives public assistance. These runners are finding success, despite the odds facing them. In addition, one of our long-term runners won the Rochester City Athletic Championship for Cross Country Running in 2016 and received a scholarship to train at the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid. In the fall of 2017, this same runner started his freshman year at RIT. He is the first person in his family to go to college. One of our Miler coaches helped this runner complete college applications, steered him to Writers and Books for a class in writing college essays, and even bought him a laptop.
The 2018 spring season for Monroe Milers begins on Wednesday, February 28th, 6pm at School #35 on Field Street between South Clinton and Monroe Avenues. If you know of any young people who might want to participate, send them on over.
God is good all the time, and all the time, God is good.