I am running to support Summer Search Boston, which provides educational opportunity to Boston's most under-resourced youth.
Running the Boston Marathon was something I just knew I could never do. I could support my husband and daughter while they ran it, but I was a non-athlete and proud of it! When I turned 50, I decided that perhaps I should try doing just a bit of exercise to keep the old joints limbered up, and after a very, very long time worked my way up to running a mile, very slowly. Eventually, one mile became three and I felt great satisfation that I had achieved my goal. Then, my sister was diagnosed with a deadly brain tumor and my world was turned upside down. There was little I could do substantively to help her, so I decided to raise funds for brain tumor research by running in the 2009 NYC marathon. OMG!! It was the best and worst experience of my life, and one I followed up with two years later in Chicago. The day of the marathon is lots of fun, albeit challenging. But the many, many hours on the road, the training that is required in order to participate, always reminds me of the well-worn phrase, "It's the journey, not the destination." Running for something bigger than yourself is quite a mental and physical journey, and one I've decided to take this time for something that is also very important to me. My sister, thank God, is doing incredibly well and enjoying her life. But there are children right in Boston for whom every day is also a struggle. They don't have a fatal illness, but they do live in an area, and go to school, where fatalities occur all too often. Some have parents who are in jail, are addicted to drugs, or are neglectful. Some have wonderful, supportive families but have so little money that getting enough food is a challenge, or they have no educational role models. Despite all these challenges, these kids show such determination, such a desire to make something positive happen in their lives, that they overcome all the obstacles. I am running for them, and I hope you'll help me.
Summer Search challeges students to succeed by breaking them out of their comfort zones, much the same way that I am breaking out of mine. In addition to providing one-on-one college advising and intensive weekly mentoring support from full-time, highly trained staff, Summer Search sends every student on two summer experiential learning trips. These trips may be wilderness, community service, or academic, through partners like Outward Bound or Brown University. Often, students are leaving their Boston neighborhoods for the first time. They learn to persevere through extreme challenges, how to believe in themselves, and how to connect with a peer group very different from their own as they get their first glimpse of a life outside of poverty. The skills they learn on these trips are the very skills that help them succeed in college, and in life.
For whatever amount you are able to give, I am incredibly grateful and in your debt. I believe your gift will pay us all back with great rewards one day.