In December of 2011 I decided on a whim that I was going to become a runner. That January I joined a training program, and then in July of 2012…I ran a half-marathon. I had no idea I was capable of such a feat! As I talked with other runners on the course I met many who were running for a cause, and many more who were on the Run 4 Kids team, a fundraiser for Missoula Youth Homes. I had a friend who was working there at the time and I asked her about what Youth Homes does for our community and what the money the runners raised went to.
I learned that because of the Youth Homes organization, over 9,000 at-risk children and youth in Western Montana have be given the opportunity to experience childhood in a safe and secure place to call home since 1971. Each day they serve over 150 children in their shelters, group homes or foster care homes. Over 90% of these kids improve their grades and stay in school and nearly 95% graduate or get their GED. Most importantly, Youth Homes provides kids the chance to be a kid and work on building healthy relationships that will be their base for moving forward as a healthier and happier adult. The money raised by runners specifically helps these young people to do extra-curricular activities, go on school field trips and be involved in groups and clubs. Thinking back to my time in school my parents were able to help me participate in just about everything I could and my time in those clubs and sports taught me about teamwork, perseverance, problem solving, work ethic and so much more. I was blessed to be so active and involved and I attribute much of who I am to the groups I was a part of. I couldn’t think of a better cause to run a full marathon for.
So, today I am writing to you on behalf of Youth Homes. As a member of their Run 4 Kids Team, I have committed to a goal of raising at least $500 and running the Missoula Marathon on July 14th in honor of the children who have benefited from the Youth Homes programs. When I run the Missoula Marathon I will represent not only a child, but also those of you who donated to my campaign.
I have only 4 more weeks to train and fundraise but in those weeks I will be adding at least another 65 miles to the 220 miles I’ve run since January to prepare for the 26.2 miles I will do on race day. Through it all I feel so fortunate to have this chance to make a difference in the lives of local youth. I keep these children’s stories in my mind and in my heart as I prepare for this awesome adventure.
I challenge you to help me meet my goals to help children heal in our community. All donations are tax-deductible. You can donate online at: http://www.crowdrise.com/teamyouthhomesrun4kids2013/fundraiser/jenniferblood or by sending a check made payable to “Youth Homes” back to me at Jennifer Blood, 525 Cottonwood St #3 Missoula, MT 59801.
Thank you so much for all of your support, both for me and for the kids at Youth Homes!
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