Sandra Garcia was one of the first participants in NYRR’s youth running programs, back in 1999 when she was an eighth grade student at P.S. 241 in Harlem. Now 27, she’s a product marketing and digital manager at Time Warner Cable who also runs her own event-planning firm in Manhattan. Garcia connects those early years on her Young Runners team with the success that she’s found in adulthood. “Running has played a huge role in helping me to structure my life,” says Garcia. Coming full circle, Garcia ran the 2014 NYC Half with NYRR’s charity team, Team for Kids. Her fundraising will enable kids to experience the gift of running, and running will transform their lives, just as it did hers.
Ken Posner started out supporting NYRR’s youth running programs by joining Team for Kids to run the 2010 New York City Marathon. As he learned more about the free running programs that TFK helps provide to kids in underserved communities, he continued to raise money through his ultramarathon events. The chief of investment analytics and investor relations at Capital Bank, Posner has personally raised more than $42,000. He also volunteers at NYRR Youth Jamborees and meets with kids, their parents, and coaches. “Adults make choices regarding fitness and many other priorities, but it seems a shame that children are getting squeezed out of fitness training in today's world of budget pressures,” says Posner. “The Mighty Milers and Young Runners programs have a positive impact on the kids, are well-run, and deserve a lot of support. I look forward to continuing to spread the word.”
This May, Ken was part of the team that put on Rock the Ridge, a scenic 50-mile endurance race in upstate New York. In addition to raising funds to preserve the beautiful Mohonk Reserve, runners who signed up with code TFK2014 were able to also support NYRR youth programs.
At P.S. 1 in the Bronx, Monday and Friday mornings belong to Mighty Milers. At 7:30 a.m., about 30 children, along with many of their parents and the school principal, gather in the gym for a half hour of fitness games and exercises that make staying fit fun for everyone.
“The kids and their parents really enjoy the program. It motivates the kids to see their parents and teachers joining in to get fit,” says the school’s Mighty Milers coach and P.E. teacher, Dan Marascia. One fourth grader, Octavio, has lost 15 pounds since joining Mighty Milers in November and is ready to earn his “marathon of miles” medal as he’s run almost 26.2 miles this school year.
“Seeing the smiles on the faces of the kids and their parents is what motivates me to show up early,” Marascia said.
How many pairs of running shoes are in your closet? Far too many of the 200,000 kids we serve through NYRR youth running programs don’t have a single pair. It's not uncommon to see them running in ill-fitting sneakers, dress shoes, boots, or sandals. By helping to stock our virtual sneaker closet, you can ensure that children in NYRR's Mighty Milers and Young Runners programs run in safe and appropriate footwear. Since November, more than $15,000 has been raised by individual donors and local running clubs such as the Dashing Whippets Running Team, North Brooklyn Runners, the New York Athletic Club, Van Cortlandt Track Club, and Mercury Masters. "I’m proud of the contributions my team made to put kids in sneakers. I look forward to seeing them in future NYRR races,” said Patricia Tirona, a captain of the Dashing Whippets. You can donate today and help kids in our city's neediest schools keep running all year round!