I am running the 2012 Boston Marathon to raise money for Summer Search Boston.
Summer Search is a nonprofit organization that works with low-income high school students, providing them with the mentoring and life experiences they need to rise up from poverty and become leaders in their communities. Boston needs Summer Search: While the average Boston Public High School student has only a 14% chance of graduating from college and many do not graduate from high school, 100% of Summer Search students have graduated from high school, and 89% have graduated from college or are on track to do so. The average Summer Search student lives in a family of four with an annual income of just $24,739, so when these students graduate from college, it literally changes the trajectory of their families' lives forever.
Summer Search Boston serves 375 students from all the Boston Public High Schools, providing them four things:
** Intensive weekly mentoring ** Three years of mentoring from a highly-trained, full-time staff mentor who sets high expectations while providing the support often lacking in students’ schools or families.
** Summer experiential education programs ** Two 3-to-6-week summer trips, with programs such as Outward Bound and Amigos de las Americas, that provide challenging experiences with peers from very different backgrounds; for many students, it is their first glimpse of a life outside of poverty and a different path forward.
** College advising ** SAT preparation and one-on-one college and financial aid counseling to help students realize the best possible educational opportunities.
** Alumni support ** Access to professional development opportunities and internship placements throughout college and beyond.
Why is Summer Search so effective in helping students succeed in college? On their summer programs, students face the very same obstacles they will encounter in college -- navigating the unfamiliar, connecting with a very different peer group, and persisting through seemingly impossible challenges. When these experiences are combined with long-term support from a professional mentor and practical preparation for college, students learn the perseverance and skills needed to succeed in college and become leaders.
Through the generosity of my parents, my family, and my friends, I have been blessed with many opportunities: going to college, hiking the Appalachian Trail, and having a career to say the least. I also have been blessed with chicken legs and the ability to think that running all day is a good idea.
Last year, I ran the Boston Marathon for Summer Search, and thanks to your generosity, we raised $5,961.17 for the Summer Search students. My training was rigorous and unfortunately led to a knee injury. So I implemented the Epps Marathon System (EMS): after a rigorous 6-month training program, rest and foam roll for the final 6 weeks prior to the race. The power of the "rest and roll" technique can not be understated; it helped me rehab my runners knee and make it to the start line. Thanks to EMS, I was able to go the distance and do my part for Summer Search.
Now I'm healthy and running again. This year, my goals are three-fold:
(1) Train for the marathon in a more holistic and natural fashion,
(2) Run the entire 26.2 miles,
(3) Raise enough money to give two more chicken-legged kids the opportunities I have had.
My fundraising goal is an even $10,000. This is approximately the funds required for two Summer Search students. The average cost per student in 2011 breaks down as follows: Summer Search spent $2,317 on summer program costs such as tuition, travel, equipment, etc. (This figure should actually be higher, but Summer Search receives in-kind scholarships of on average $1,383 from many of its summer program partners.) An additional $2,822 is spent on other program-related costs such as staffing costs for mentors, college counseling, student recruitment, etc. (Full disclosure: Summer Search spends an additional $1,572 per student on development and administrative costs, but these expenses do not figure into my fundraising goal, as I am assured that gifts from the Summer Search board and other unrestricted funds cover all the overhead costs, so every dollar you give will go directly to Summer Search kids.)
Please join me. I promise to think of you every time I set out to run, knowing that you were there supporting me the whole way. Together with your checkbooks and my chicken legs we will send two lucky kids backpacking, we will send them to college, and we will change their lives.