Teens, mentors race to new heights

July 10, 2008 8:42:34 PM PDT
An area program is helping at-risk teenagers break away from the negatives in their lives by focusing on something positive and physical. The teens are training to run marathons with the help of mentors. It's a program that's delivering both physical and psychological benefits.

A marathon is not so daunting if you take it three miles at a time. A group of Chicago teenagers are running those three miles as they train for the Chicago Marathon with the help of mentor volunteers.

"We teach these students they can do anything they put their minds to, that if you have a goal, if you break it down into manageable steps and you have someone that believes in you, you can do it," said Program Director Kathy Braund.

Sponsored by the Marilyn G. Rabb Foundation, the program involves high school teens ages 14 to 18. Recently, they were training at Foreman High School.

"There are some kids that doubt themselves that they can't do things in life and you know they put themselves out there and it makes them think that they can do everything you know," Iesha Gonzalez, student runner.

"By showing their dedication and fully committing themselves to excellence through something like running is more than a hobby, it's a passion," said Vic Maurer, mentor volunteer.

Those training for the marathon are students at Foreman, North Grand and Carver Military Academy, three schools in neighborhoods where the teenagers are at risk.

"They motivate you if you feel tired. It really helps you to motivate someone else...you know only another mile and a half or whatever so they're good," said Michelle Bangert, mentor volunteer and a runner who inspired the program.

David Gartley is only 15 so he can only compete in a half marathon, something he intends to do despite what was said about him.

"People were like you can't run no marathon, look at you, you're 295 pounds, you can't run. So then I decided, you know, I'm going to sign up and everybody was like, wow. And then after I signed up I was like, I should go do it," said student runner David Gartley.

To learn more about the program log on to www.mgrf.org.


Load Comments