“first restore confidence, strength, and self-esteem…and to tackle the road ahead and move toward jobs, homes and new lives.”
Back on My Feet (BoMF) is an organization that uses running to combat homelessness. An idea that brings local Boston volunteers out three days a week, early in the morning, to run alongside homeless and struggling people who need to start putting the right foot forward to make real change in their lives, and start heading in the right direction.
If the name of this non-profit doesn’t just highlight a perfect collaboration between two organizations, then nothing will. Back on My Feet and FEAT socks recently collaborated to bring over 400 pairs of socks to BoMF Boston’s homeless veterans. Before speaking with a local friend of FEAT - a BoMF volunteer- we had yet to hear of this company and the amazing accomplishments and success they have had.
This nationwide group, located in 12 major cities coast-to-coast, focuses on fighting homelessness by getting people motivated to run. This community driven mission serves to, “first restore confidence, strength, and self-esteem…and to tackle the road ahead and move toward jobs, homes and new lives.”
They emphasize that it is important for all people to feel recognized; this gives the members a chance to redefine themselves. No longer are they thought of as homeless, they are dedicated runners working towards a goal. These people sign a contract, ensuring they will complete their goals. They don’t just do this because it is required; this incentive gives hope for success and a new life that is evident through the Alumni members. “ Within six months of becoming a Back on My Feet Alumnus, 90% of members maintain their employment, 60% receive a wage increase, and 20% achieve a promotion.” These returnees support and return to run with their original teams.
Angela Moore, the previously mentioned friend of FEAT, and a long time supporter and volunteer at BoMF, has been with the program since 2013 and runs every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, rain or shine. She started as a ‘walker’ and with persistence, finished her first 5K on New Years Day 2014 with her co-members. She recalls tears of joy as she made this accomplishment, “I cried as I crossed the finish-line because of their determination (and mine), even though many were homeless.”
Angela goes on to describe how there is an overwhelming sense of belonging; teams will train and complete half marathons. In her own time with BoMF, she has run alongside several team members who were able to get jobs and move into housing. She explains that these same people will return to the groups because they consider what BoMF creates to be family. Plus, they LOVE her dog Brody, who joins in every run.
(Brody wearing FEAT socks)
Want to join in and start walking or running with BoMF? Visit, http://boston.backonmyfeet.org/boston-get-involved
-Bianca, Spreading Smiles