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Entries in Back on My Feet (1)

Monday
Sep192011

Happy Belated Birthday, BoMF!

By Mia Coen

When I reflect on the stories I've written, I get a visual image in my head, like a montage of different people, health clubs, and programs. There are a lot of smiles, a lot of sweat, and a lot of places that I associate with this industry. One of the most inspiring stories, though, was conceived in a Philadelphia neighborhood, where Anne Mahlum started a program called Back on My Feet (BoMF)—a running program for the homeless with locations in Baltimore, Boston, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. 

I recently saw an ad for the Boston Chapter on my local news network and was reminded of how great this program was. It’s a nonprofit organization that promotes the self-sufficiency of the homeless population by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength, and self-esteem. I wrote about it last summer, here on CBI Unbound.

I took it upon myself to research the program again to see what was new. Little did I know, the Boston Chapter celebrated its first birthday this summer! BoMF has served six homeless shelters here in Boston and has enrolled over 150 people in the program. Celebrating at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, members, volunteers, and supporters had a formal birthday breakfast, but on the condition that attendees wear their favorite pair of sneakers!

Tina Haupert, health and fitness author and volunteer at BoMF, wrote about the birthday event on her blog. She reported that among the shelter residents that have been served by the program, 17 have attained permanent housing, 45 have received job training, and another 18 have obtained employment in the past year.

“Participating in BoMF every week for the past four months has showed me that this organization is so much more than just running. It’s about giving back and helping others,” writes Haupert. “At the same time, however, BoMF is not about handouts. It’s a program that you get what you give, so residents earn the right for a second chance (e.g. job training, permanent housing, etc.) by waking up three mornings every week to run.

“Running doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter who you are. Running can make you feel amazing and help you find potential in yourself. It helps people feel loved, respected, and excited about themselves. Back on My Feet is an organization that I am truly proud to be part of.”

Happy Belated Birthday, BoMF! Thank you for continuing to inspire!

Enjoy this video montage that looks back on BoMF’s first year in Boston.