Runner’s World Magazine, there is an article about a program called Run Buddies (which was started right here in Charleston, SC).
"Louis Yuhasz, 47, created Run Buddies in 2010 as an extension of Louie's Kids, an initiative he founded in 2001 to teach Charleston kids about nutrition and fitness. Adding Run Buddies to his roster of programs was natural for Yuhasz, who started running in middle school after watching his 550-pound father slowly die of obesity-related complications."
Part of Louie's Kids, Run Buddies is a national athletic mentorship program, matching adult running mentors with aspiring young runners at risk for childhood obesity.
If you have followed my blog you know my story and know how I feel about running with my son and motivating other kids to get out and run.
What you may not know is that professionally (yes, I have to work full time too) I work with at risk kids that are in the Juvenile Justice System. I won't go too much in to what I do, but I'm the director of diversion programs for the Solicitor's Office (that's “Prosecutor” to non South Carolina people) Family Court Division.
As I ran yesterday afternoon, I kept thinking about this program. I thought about the two boys in the video and how important a mentor is to their future.
There are so many kids that don't have a positive role model in their lives. I grew up without a father around and made a lot of mistakes, but was lucky enough to have coaches that took me in and helped me through my early teens. Many (not all) of the kids I work with in the court system are in this same boat.
I also thought about how my active lifestyle has influenced my own son and has helped him be more healthy and active. The fact that my seven year old son was disappointed yesterday because the weather changed and we did not get a chance to go running in the rain is a true testament to how much he is influenced by my actions.
So I am planning on talking with my own “Run Buddy” (aka my son) about how we can work together to help some of these guys get into running. It was his idea to raise money for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund and to volunteer at the Citadel Bulldog Challenge last year, so I think I will plant the seed and see where it goes.