BENEFITING: Plummer Youth Promise
ORGANIZER: Plummer Youth Promise
EVENT: 2015 Boston Marathon
Mileage Tracker: 1,171
April twentieth. Two thousand and fifteen. My first ever marathon. And it's Boston. This city that took me in. Made me hers. Put my first rusty 1994 Chrysler's keys in my palm and wrote my first real job on my resume. This city that gave an ex-pat a chance and then told her to stay a while because the rest was still unwritten. It is Boston that wrote my story. That led me to love. Taught me to try. Gave me wings and purpose and heart. It's time I paid her back. It's time I paid attention to all her ups and downs and it's time I did her justice. It's time for 26.2, me and her. I'm ready.
Ever since first watching the runners from all over the world conquer Heartbreak Hill the year I first moved to Massachusetts, I have held fast to a dream that this day may come. This year, after ten years of watching from the sidelines, including 2013, watching from the finish line, I am making that dream a reality. That year, on April 15th, my most Boston Strong husband's birthday, we escaped the exact footprint of the bombing by just a few minutes of good fortune. The impact that day had on our hearts still lives in us today. This April, I will carry that resilience and gratefulness with each stride.
I was never much of a runner. That was my big sister, or my baby brother or my best friend. But a long time ago, when I first fell in love with the sweat and tears and turmoil I would witness each year on Patriot's Day, I wondered if I could be like them. If I could put it all on the line for twenty six brutal, hilly, excruciating miles, in sun-burning shimmer or under snow-falling skies, I wondered. I started to run. I ran for health. I ran for an escape. And eventually I learned to run just to run. This opportunity came to me, like all of the seeking, sometimes clumsy, steps that had brought me here.... In 2015, before another year passes, before even one shoulda, woulda, coulda chapter must be added to my book, I would run the Boston Marathon, and I would not do it in vain.
Growing up all around the world with six siblings and being a mother to three, I know well that many things will change us, but that we start and end and owe most to family. While we may strive to never take our own families for granted, I am quite sure we take the fact that we are entitled to a one very lightly. Years ago, on this journey that brought me to here, I began volunteering my summers (when not teaching) for Camp To Belong, a camp that reunites siblings separated through foster care, and my eyes were opened to the plight of many young children around Massachusetts who go through life's up's and downs, the joys and sorrows, with no one to call their own. How could I have so much family when some had none? How do you justify the undeserved burden on a few when you have felt only gratitude for your years. A humble heart is not enough. A gentle head-tilted to the side look of empathy is not enough. On April 20th, I will run for all of those children, who deserve more than that, a chance of forever love, the gift of having a place to call their own, the pillar it has been to me to have fortifiers of my character and unwavering support. We may never understand how necessary, how needed this haven is for these adolescents, but not understanding is what makes it most worthy of our attention and our concern.
On April 20th, I will carry many souls etched upon my heart. Over the ten years of watching the Marathon, I have lost too many friends and family to disease, struggle and trauma. But I have made it to today, made it to this milestone moment of my life because of the backbone of love provided by my family. It is quite simply that, the fact that with our families we are stronger, better, more capable than we can imagine, that I run for my family, my brothers and sisters and parents, my husband and my children, my grandparents and all of our crew. Actually, really, I run for all families. Indeed it is all we could ever wish for.
Thank you for supporting me in this monumental, universal and utterly personal pilgrimage for Plummer. And to Boston, well, I tip my hat to you. The road ahead, full of snow, sleet and sweaty tears is not easy, but it is the journey to here and from here that counts and the fact that I do not have to do it alone that really means the world. That is how, that is why I will run.
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Plummer Home serves young men and women who have been bouncing around the foster care system for years, or who are at risk of entering the system. We find them families, teach them skills and connect them with community.
Founded in 1855, the mission of Plummer Home is to provide adolescents innovative support and services, in a safe and nurturing environment, to build the relationships and skills necessary for successful adulthood.
Why we do it
Because annually, more than 23,000 youth who have been living in group care or foster care leave the child welfare system with no permanent family.
By age 24:
- Almost 4 in 10 will experience homelessness
- More than half will be unemployed
- 2/3 of the girls will become pregnant
How we do it
Our holistic Model of Care is focused on:
- Finding kids permanent families
- Preparing kids with skills, and
- Connecting them with their communities
Where we do it
- Group Home for 12 boys between 13 and 18 years old.
- Supported Apartment for young men ages 16–22. On same premises as Group Home.
- Community-based 1-bedroom apartments for young men or women who turned 18 while in group care or foster care.
- Foster Care for girls and boys birth to age 22, though we prefer to work with older youth.
- On Point Teen Resource Center for youth at risk of being removed from their families for having minor brushes with the law. Also serves neighborhood youth.
Learn more at: www.plummerhome.org