BENEFITING: Youth Homes
ORGANIZER: Youth Homes
EVENT: Missoula Marathon 2013
EVENT DATE: Jul 14, 2013
From Jessi and Rachel: A reason to run
In 2012 Jessi and Rachel started running together on Sunday mornings in preparation for what they thought would be last year's Missoula Marathon. The goal was not just the race but improved health and relaxation. While efforts were valid, we unfortunately were not prepared in time to enter or complete the 1/2 marathon in July. However, Rachel signed up for another race in August outside of Portland. Jessi continued to train with her along the way and acted as a constant cheerleader and priceless friend through the process. This year with new found purpose and determination we have not only committed ourselves to the 13 miles on a July morning but also to Run for Kids. Please continue reading to hear our different reasons and why we're asking for your support!
From Rachel: Moving forward
If you know me well you know that the last two years of my life have come with great change and transformation. Times that I felt weak (and there were many) I turned to myself and told myself I had to find a way to be strong. And I found running. With my headphones on listening to very specific play lists I stared myself down in the mirror at the gym as I ran and thought of every person in my life who helped make me strong. I said to myself "I'm running for you. You are with me at this moment and bringing me strength as I push myself forward." I became strong in many ways and I am grateful for the people who helped me get there.
I admittedly am not highly familiar with the works of Youth Homes and the main reason for that I feel is having never known anyone who has benefited from their services. In a way I feel thankful that someone close to me has never had to suffer the loss of a parent, a non-existing parent, an abusive home, exposure to drugs, violence, poverty, homelessness, or any of the many situations that bring these children to require their help. Though, these events and individuals exist. Knowing that brings me to wonder what strength they have and where it comes from. The environment, staff, and services provided by youth homes clearly are their main source giving them the opportunity to create their strength. In the times they may struggle there might not be a network of people they can easily think of that motivate them if Youth Homes were not available to them. My goal is to take the strength I have gained and use it to help them move forward as well.
From Jessi: Getting Out
As a mother of two beautiful young girls it is easy to find myself torn in creating the balance between work, wife, parent, friend, and family member. The stressors of life come fast and unexpected at times. Starting to run with Rachel was a refreshing break from the day to day and something that I looked forward to on our Sunday mornings. As we began running again this spring I was overwhelmed with excitement when we jaunted down the familiar path of our route. It was like a instant release providing a mental and emotional break. Primarily I use it to be able to fit into my pants, but it's also been a way for me to manage Seasonal Affective Disorder and a pretty scary bout of Post-Partum Depression in a way that limits my need for medication. My girls can see that I am happier post-run and my four-year-old has even suggested that maybe I go for a run when I seemed cranky.
Health and wellness have become a priority in my life having seen others exposed to detrimental health issues. I want to minimize that burden to myself and my family and create a culture of wellbeing in all that I do. This is proven not just in my commitment to the marathon but in a Wellness Committee at work, a garden in our yard, and abundance of grass fed beef for our family. Additionally, my four-year-old asked to join me running for the first time. We only went a mile, and it took us almost half an hour, but it was one of the best runs I've done. Naturally, Rachel and I can find vice in a local micro brew after (or totally unrelated to) a run.
The Youth Homes Run For Kids sets the example to myself, my daughters, my family, and my friends that I will continue to be passionate in having a long and healthy life with them. Thank you for joining me in this mission!
About Youth Homes: Youth Homes is a Montana non-profit organization dedicated to caring for children and youth and their families who are in need and/or crisis.
Our kids are as young as three and as old as 18. They have experienced domestic violence. Their dads are not in their lives. They are abused. They are neglected. They have been exploited. They are homeless. They are unsafe at home. They have fled. They have been involved with child protection. They have broken laws. They are on probation. They have acted out. They have run. They have emotional challenges. They are sad. They have attempted suicides. They are angry. They lie. They are honest about their pain. They are running from it. They do not belong. But they all have hope.
We provide a refuge for kids that have no where else to go. We first stop the harm and help them feel safe. Then we give them a dependable routine with competent caretakers and build healthy relationships. We show compassion by staying by their side throughout their pain. We help them find, rely on and trust family. We concentrate on reconnecting each child to the greater community. Finally, we believe it is important to give them the foundation of a strong connection to us and confidence to find happiness in their future. To do this work well we must keep our word.