I am very excited to have the opportunity to run the 2015 Boston Marathon for Dream Big!, a charity that provides girls from low-income situations with uniforms, athletic footwear, program fees, training expenses, sports opportunities and the supplies they need to participate in sports and physical activities that contribute to their health, education and overall well-being.
Listening to the stories of the girls that Dream Big! serves, you realize how important their work is and that they do so much for these girls including providing academic support and at times even assisting in securing shelter.
There are girls going through an entire sporting event without a drink of water because they lack a water bottle, girls showing up to soccer wearing sandals because they don’t have sneakers or socks, and soccer games being canceled because team members can’t afford $15.00 shin guards. There was a girls’ basketball team that went without uniforms for years. In order to play, their games were scheduled immediately after the boys’ games. After the boys played, they would change and hand off their uniforms to the girls to play in. There are stories about girls who made the state finals for track or had shin splints resolve after they were provided actual running sneakers to replace the Keds they had been running in, and stories about female high school athletes who are managing to maintain A averages while living in homeless shelters. Among other benefits, girls who participate in sports are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college.
Poverty can severely limit a young girl’s involvement in sports and physical activities. Every day girls in need step on the playing field, court or track without the proper footwear, equipment, sports attire or training they deserve. Launched in Massachusetts in 2010, Dream Big! has already had a direct, positive effect on more than 10,000 girls in need through equipment donations, program scholarships, sports clinics and the Dream Big! Leadership Conferences for middle & high school girls.
Why I am running to support Dream Big!
Fitness is something that until fairly recently, I really struggled with; I started dreaming of running the Boston Marathon back when I was a kid in elementary school who often got picked last for sports teams/games. In high school, I actually thought it was an unreasonable expectation that I should be able to run a 10-minute mile as part of the Presidential Physical Fitness Test! Following the birth of our third child, I worked hard to become physically fit to be a positive role-model for our children and to get and stay healthy. In Jan 2012, my New Year’s resolution was to run a 5-K (3.1 miles). My very first race ended up being a 5-miler, and I finished my 2012 race season with my first half-marathon (13.1 miles). I found that I love running and being active, and I really enjoy continuing to challenge myself both on the road and at the gym. In 2014, I ran 4 half-marathons, and my first full marathon (26.2 miles). I have found that being active has increased my confidence, reduced stress, and even improved my time management skills.
The benefits for children are even greater. My husband and I both work to encourage our children to be active. We love playing tag and hiking with them; we also make sure that they each participate in at least one sports-related activity. Children need to be active; regular participation in physical activity during childhood and adolescence promotes the development of positive body image, confidence, self-esteem, and has been shown to improve both academic performance and career success. I believe that every child deserves the opportunity to participate in an activity and a chance to realize their dreams.
Over the next six months the Dream Big! Marathon Team, made up of myself and 15 other runners will work to raise over $150,000 for Dream Big!. I hope you will join me in support of this important cause by sponsoring my 26.2 mile marathon run with a donation to Dream Big!, and I thank you in advance for your consideration. Please note that your donation is both tax deductible and eligible for employer matching gift programs. No donation is too little, and every dollar will be put to good use. $35 will purchase a regulation soccer ball or basketball. $50 will purchase a pair a new pair of sneakers or cleats. $100 pays for an 8 week dance or fitness class for 1 girl. $200 Pays for a new bike and helmet. $500 pays for a week long summer sports camp. $1000 pays for new uniforms, equipment and training for an entire sports team. $2500 pays for physical education equipment for one full year for hundreds of children in an elementary or middle school. $10,000 pays for a new community based sports program for 100 female athletes!
For more information on Dream Big! go to: www.dream-big.org