Have you realized the amazing benefits that running has had on your life and want to give back to the Charlotte community to help others realize the power behind a good run? Volunteering your time to a local running non-profit can be a rewarding way to connect with others and share your passion for running while feeling proud of helping our community grow stronger and healthier.
Today I'm sharing three non-profit organizations with you that are doing BIG things to help the youth and homeless populations here in Charlotte. Volunteering with any of these three organizations would be a valuable and rewarding way to give back!
Girls on the Run
Girls on the Run was established in Charlotte in 1996 by local runner Molly Barker. The program began locally with 13 girls and has experienced tremendous growth and success. Girls on the Run will serve 150,000 girls and with over 60,000 volunteers in 200+ cities across North America in 2014.
Girls on the Run is a non-profit program for girls in third through eighth grade. Girls on the Run teams meet twice a week in groups of 8-15 girls led by certified volunteer coaches who teach life skills through conversation-based lessons and running games. The 20 lessons fall into one of three categories: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large. The running aspect of the program is designed to give the girls confidence and also to promote the importance of health and fitness from a young age. Each season culminates with the teams completing a 5K event.
Check out this video that gives you a feel for what Girls on the Run is all about!
There are several ways you can get involved with Girls on the Run. First is in a coaching role. Roles vary from head coach to assistant coach to junior coach and include meeting with your team twice a week for the duration of the 10-week season and through the 5K event. If that time commitment is not possible for you, consider being a 5K volunteer and giving your time to day-of race logistics and management.
RunningWorks is a non-profit running program that was founded in Charlotte in 1998 by local runner Meredith Dolhare to encourage the homeless community to rediscover the power of teamwork, discipline, confidence and respect for each other through running. A group run is hosted every Tuesday and Friday morning and begins at the Urban Ministry Center. Runners are given shoes, RunningWorks t-shirts, shorts and socks and the runs begin at 10:10 a.m. After the runs there are group discussions focusing on themes such as relentless forward progress, discipline, teamwork, self-respect, respect for others, goal setting, interview skills, showing up and dealing with setbacks. On Fridays, participants have an opportunity to share what their biggest challenge of the week was or whether something good has happened for them.
You can get involved as a volunteer by serving as a group run host. You'll help distribute equipment before the run, lead the participants on the run and stay for the post-run group discussion after the run. Read this helpful guide from on what to expect from a morning with RunningWorks.
Let Me Run
Let Me Run was founded by Ashley Armistead in 2009. A former Girls on the Run coach, Ashley was eager to provide a similar program to young boys in the community. Let Me Run is a seven-week program for pre-teen and teenage boys that is led by trained coaches. Teams meet twice a week and work through lessons about wellness, well-being, respect, positive competition and nutrition. Some of the lesson plans include topics like, real men show their feelings, everyday heroes and getting to know you. The program is designed to help boys learn to express themselves, reach personal goals and improve their overall health and fitness. The seven-week program concludes with a 5K road race.
Watch this video to learn more about the mission of Let Me Run and the spirit behind the program.
If you would like to get involved, each team requires a site coordinator, a head coach and an assistant coach. Read more about volunteer opportunities.Do you volunteer with any local running organizations or non-profits? How do you give back to the Charlotte running community?