Rowing has made an ongoing commitment, two years in fact, to this group through the help of its inspiring director, Ann Mahlum. Ann thought it would be a good idea to try to get the men in local homeless shelters into an early morning running program to help get them along their path back to self-sufficiency. She was right! The work of this organization has changed the pathway of many people’s lives, including the volunteers.
Their philosophy is that the team environment and competitive nature of the early morning work-outs builds confidence, strength, and self-esteem. They also assist in job and apartment searches. Back on My Feet looks for local volunteers willing to go out and run with the men as a means to motivate them and keep them going. As a team we’ve gone out on many runs with the organization; our last one was on the 8 ½ mile loop around the Schuylkill river.
We basically have conversations with the guys as their completing their workouts to encourage them and get their minds off some of the monotony and possible fatigue which is truly insignificant by comparison to many of the other hurdles they face. Running partners get each other through with dependable support, encouragement and friendship.
The program has grown to incorporate seven shelters and has spread to Baltimore with plans of opening up a Washington DC chapter shortly. Additionally, Ann Mahlum was recognized as a 2008 top ten CNN Hero. To learn more, go to www.Backonmyfeet.org.