We knew running was a reliable “change agent”, and we could use it to help kids gain confidence in their own natural grit, and prepare them for a life of selflessness, satisfaction, and success. We also found we could create a fun active play program that made kids sweaty and happy every week.
We were able to add innovative educator Hilary Harper-Wilcoxen to the team in 2019. She made an immediate impact, adding several partner schools in her first few months. As we got to know the kids, families, and schools, we realized that supporting early literacy was probably the single most important thing for a child’s academic future, so we began to discover ways to link running and active play with reading.
Further to that, we learned that simply having books in the home gives a child a powerful tool to break cyclical poverty, substance abuse, and incarceration… so we’re giving away a lot of books!
In 2020, we added Mary Ann Sprague-Denison (West Coast Director) to our team, and she immediately went to work growing the Team Long Run community. She’s brought fresh thinking and new programs to TLR, reaching and blessing the kids who need it most from Orange County schools to Social Service NGO’s in the Bay Area.
Covid pushed us to “hybridize” our offerings, and we greatly enriched our online content- enabling anyone, anywhere, to conduct a TLR program.
What began as an on-site program in rural Maine with four kids, has grown into a coast-to-coast network of programs that reach over 6,000 kids. We feel like we’ve found some effective ways to give kids who need it the most a running start, and we’re in it for the long run.