I'm running the Boston Marathon this year for Youth Enrichment Services. YES, provides outdoor and leadership opportunities to underserved youth of Boston through participation in snow sports, track and field, outdoor adventures, entrepreneurship, and college prep. They have an amazing track record helping youth achieve their aspirations through college and into their careers. I've been volunteering with YES for over 3 years.
Parents involved in YES are determined to give their kids every opportunity possible in life. The grit the kids display trying something new, totally unexpected and challenging is admirable. That's why I was excited when asked to run for YES this year and accepted the challenge. My experiences at YES have made the marathon even more meaningful for me and the training has been both a struggle and a gift.
I've never been a recreational runner, and recently I have had spinal issues that prevented me from exercising. I started training in November with a 3 mile run on the treadmill. The last 5 months have been messy, sweaty, painful and plain ugly. Everything has hurt - feet, shins, knees, back, etc. The long runs are boring and the time commitment (with two kids) is hard.
In the process, however, I have had my friends from YES, family, and coworkers rally around me to help. I've heard great words of encouragement and experienced truly rewarding feelings of achievement when I did something I didn't think was possible. For example, I hit 19 miles and Heartbreak Hill last week. I feel stronger than before I started–both physically and mentally.
I'm still a terrible runner. I will not win any trophies on the 15th. That said, when I finish–and hopefully under 6 hours–I will not care about the time but the fact that I was given this gift and the amazing experience it has been.
YES provides opportunities like this each year to the youth of Boston–to challenge themselves and to have a great community to support them in their journey. Please help me support YES's mission and donate to my run.
Youth Enrichment Services, Inc. wrote:
YES is a non-profit organization that has been serving youth since 1968 with outdoor, sports-based, and leadership development programs. YES serves over 1,600 youth annually through its three signature programs: Operation SnowSports, Outdoor Adventure, and the YES Academy.
The mission of Youth Enrichment Services (YES) is to inspire and challenge youth with physical and mental activities that foster life-long respect for self, others, and the environment. YES accomplishes this through three tiers of programming which give youth new experiences, help youth gain confidence and leadership skills. YES aims to serve Boston-area youth, with a focus on the underserved neighborhoods of Mattapan, Roxbury and Dorchester. To learn more about YES, visit www.yeskids.org.
Team YES is running the 2019 Boston Marathon to raise funds to support YES's mission. YES's 2018 Boston Marathon team raised over $40,000 with a team of four runners. We look forward to raising even more money for Boston youth with four team members running for Team YES in 2019. All funds raised will be used to fund and expand after-school and outdoor programs for the Boston youth who need it most.