No, I'm not a runner. I'm a DREAMER! And the idea of joining forces with DREAMFAR HIGH SCHOOL MARATHON was an opportunity I couldn't pass up!
My teenage daughter was recruited by her English teacher to join a newly-formed local high school group which had great plans to run in an upcoming marathon.
The goal was to strengthen these kids, bit by bit--physically, mentally, and spiritually--so they would uncover their amazing inner strength and accomplish wonderful things!
Truth be told, we never expected our daughter to stick with this 8-month program, but her dedicated teacher wouldn't have it any other way!
Several times a week, our daughter was out running with a bunch of kids from all walks of life. They were geeks to althetes and everything in between. Not only was she running, she was actually enjoying herself!
Soon, really great things started to happen... Her grades shot up to Honor Roll level. She was growing fantastic new friendships. She began setting goals for herself. And it all just kept getting better!
Then in no time, it was Marathon Day!
After having been part of the first season Support Team for DREAMFAR and driving alongside the runners, providing refreshments, first aid, and rescue rides, I couldn't imagine just waiting it out at the finish line, so I volunteered to bike the race, offering encouragement and whatever else our runners needed.
Did I mention I hadn't been on a bike for a year?! Well, I guess I wear crazy well, because I didn't just stop there!
Fast forward 26.2 miles... As my daughter impressively crossed the finish line, I blurted out... I'LL RUN WITH YOU NEXT YEAR!!!
Now, as many parents know, the one thing you NEVER do is make a promise to your kid and not follow through! They will never let you forget! Am I right?!
Well, it's 6 months into our training and we just ran the 16-mile Super Hero race! It was so incredibly fun! I was Black Widow. (I did have to get my costume pre-approved by my daughter because G-d forbid I should embarrass her...)
So, getting back on track (pun intended!)... one of the most joyful aspects of this program are the moments when my daughter, after crossing the finish line, sticks around to wait for me, cheering loudly and ready to greet me with a giant hug! (She's a wicked fast runner!) There's not a ribbon or a trophy that can bring me that much happiness!
And just because it merits mention, in our Dreamfar Southcoast group, there are 7 or 8 Teen-Parent running groups! Just thought you might like to know!
Mentoring these kids has meant the world to me. My expectactions for this volunteer position didn't even come close to reality. We learn from each other. We support each other. We encourage each other. We are a tight team. We are in this TOGETHER!
I truly believe every high school student deserves the opportunity to dwell in huge accomplishment and beyond-the-stars success. I know that this can only happen with YOUR support. Give a little or give a lot... either way I will be forever grateful to you.
Thank you so much for reading my story! Your donations keep us going and open the doors for our remarkable kids to DREAMFAR!
(BTW, if anyone is interested, this is my first running experience! I'll turn 53 just before Marathon Day!)
The mission of DREAMFAR High School Marathon is to challenge high school students to reach their full potential--physically, socially, emotionally, and academically--through a mentor-supported marathon training program.
High School is one of life’s most challenging times. Students experience confusion, insecurity, and constant pressure. It’s all too easy to fall off the pace and withdraw.
DREAMFAR High School Marathon helps students build confidence, skills, and lasting friendships at this crucial moment in their lives. Launched in 2008, the program challenges students of all abilities and backgrounds to accomplish something exceptional: train for and run a marathon. In its first eight years, DREAMFAR has helped over 500 students from 15 Boston area high schools across the finish line.
Founded at Newton South High School by Jamie Chaloff, a special education teacher, DREAMFAR is suited for students of all sorts. Students who excel. Students who feel lost. Even students at risk. The formula is simple. You show up. You work hard. You have fun. Students train together from October to May, with volunteer adult mentors who serve as role models. On Saturdays, the entire cohort runs together. In May, they line up in their DREAMFAR colors at the start of the Providence Marathon. 26.2 tough miles later, they celebrate at the finish.
DREAMFAR is the only high school marathon program in New England. It teaches students how to focus, helps them makes friends, and keeps them fit and healthy. Most of all, it’s fun. Mile after mile, day after day, DREAMFAR students discover an inner strength that will guide them through their years in school, and through the years beyond.