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Seven months ago, my daughter, Hannah, announced, “Mom, I signed up to run the Providence Marathon with DreamFar.” Immediately, I thought that she somehow didn’t understand her dad’s and my message that she needed to scale back on her extracurricular activities. Hannah’s freshman and sophomore years of high school were filled with drama club, tennis, cross-country, band and AFS and all of the practices, matches, meets and performances that go along with those commitments. There were days where Hannah arrived at school at 7:15 a.m. and didn’t leave until 9:30 p.m. With a full course load of AP and honors courses on her plate for her junior year, we blew the whistle and said ‘enough’. Now, she was somehow going to fit the high mileage of training for a marathon in her busy day. I walked into the DreamFar’s parents meeting skeptical, but by the end of the meeting I had signed up as a mentor! Although, I had been running since I was eleven years old, ACL surgery seven years ago made even doing a half mile painful. I thought to myself, “you can always walk it” and headed to buy myself a good pair of running shoes and some orthotics. What I loved about the program was that it was all inclusive. Participants didn’t need to be an athletic, as many of the students had never participated in group sports. There were no tryouts or qualifying times or expectations. The only criteria being the willingness to give something new a try. DreamFar was founded in 2008, by Jamie Chaloff, a high school teacher in Newton, MA. After completing her first marathon in 2004, she realized how empowering completing a marathon was and at that moment dreamed of beginning a high school marathon training program. Dreamfar’s mission is to address several of the issues that often get in the way of a student's success and enjoyment in high school. Dreamfar seeks to help each student – develop a sense of self-worth and self-respect – facilitate connections; in school with other students, teachers and adult mentors from the community – instill the value of hard work to use when tackling life's challenges in high school and beyond – and experience the value of a physically active lifestyle. Not only did I have a front row seat in witness this these changes occur over the months of training with my daughter and her fellow DreamFar runners, but had the immense privilege to experience these transformations firsthand. The miles of snow covered roads, rainy afternoons and breath-taking winds during those training runs gives oneself not only a sense that any mileage can be attained but any challenge in life can be overcome. If you would like to support this worthy cause, please consider a donation through Crowdrise. Thank you! Raquel



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RAQUEL is working on selecting a charity so you can support dreamfar.