Here at Bridges, we strive to help youth build confidence, trust, and respect through enriching experiences – such as our running club, Bridges Runs. Bridges Runs was founded five years ago by volunteer (and later board member) Kris Finney. The group trains every Saturday in the spring and fall, and along with a dedicated group of volunteer “buddy runners,” they run multiple 5K races each year. Many of the kids have never run before starting this program, but we’ve seen them blossom with the opportunity to push themselves and feel the thrill of success. Each youth tracks their progress and they all joyfully celebrate each other’s successes – whether it’s winning a medal or simply completing the race.
Says Finney, “I wanted to engage youth in running so they could burn some energy, improve their physical fitness, and experience the emotional and psychological benefits. Five years later, the program has turned out to be so much more than I imagined. There is a sense of community amongst youth and buddy runners, youth are setting goals and working to achieve them, and youth are building their confidence and getting involved in other sports.”
The group capped off their spring by running in the Arlington Bunny Hop, a new 5K race (with Bridges as the beneficiary!) organized by Clarendon United Methodist Church.
Bridges Runs is just one way we help youth envision and create a bright future for themselves. Want to get involved? Sign up to become a Bridges volunteer here.