Cecilia Castellano
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Crossing the finish line at my first half marathon

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My first 5k with Kristen

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These sweet babies were guests in the program

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Guests in the Family Promise program

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What a doll!

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A family from the program

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Getting ready for trick or treat.

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Kristen and I when we are not running!

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Great signs from Bob and the girls.

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First Half Marathon with Kristen

Family Promise empowers families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, while providing mission opportunities for people of faith.

I started a journey in the summer of 2011 without knowing it. It began with a casual conversation with a friend after a workout in a park on a summer day. My friend had started a fitness business and I was meeting her in the summer on the weekends to work out with her group. I enjoyed it and had taken a particular interest in health and wellness that year after working on losing some weight. Renee said to me, “you should run a 5K”. “Oh, Renee, I don’t run”, I said back. “You should try it”, she said. And the conversation was over. Little did I know that a seed was planted. As I look back, I know it was God’s work, to plant that seed. I thought about that conversation and thought well, maybe I could try to run a 5k. I had no idea about running, let alone how to run a 5K which is 3.2 miles. I knew people did them all the time, but not me. So I started running, a little. My husband tells the story of the first day I ran with him and I asked him “so what do you do with your arms?” He showed me and I ran for a minute or two. It was hard. It was really hard to run again, and again and again.. and painful. But somehow, I did. I worked up to run a 5K in September 2011. I crossed the finished line and thought I had won the Olympics. Side note, I didn’t even win the race (not even close), but wow, it sure must feel like that being an Olympian. Slowly that seed took root and running became something that was a part of my fabric. I enjoyed the benefits of running and the challenges of running and continued to train for different events, working my way up to a half marathon at 13.1 miles. I proudly display that sticker on my car, and thought I had reached my capacity for running at that half marathon length. I use my running time to pray and talk with God. And so we started to talk about what it might be like for me to run a full marathon. To run 26.2 miles, to train for that, to accomplish that, and with some encouragement from my dear friends Kristen and Ellie, I knew that I should sign up for the Cleveland Marathon on May 19, 2013.

I’ve been training for several weeks now but I know I will finish. It will take me several hours, it will be exhausting and exhilarating and I am blessed to be able to train with my best friend and running partner Kristen who will also run the marathon with me. Having someone next to me for all those miles will make a difference and we’ll cross that finish line together. But training takes a lot of time and energy. I’m spending hours running each week. And it became tedious and I started to feel selfish and self-absorbed. Talking about running, complaining about running, planning to run. I was wondering is this really how I should be spending my free time? And just when I was wondering what the point was, expect for the fabulous 26.2 sticker on my car and the few minutes of Olympian euphoria.. and answer came.

Run for the kids. Run for the forgotten, Run for the poor. And so I realized, God brought me to this moment to ask you to partner with me in this run. To support me and an organization I hold close to my heart, Family Promise of Greater Toledo. Family Promise empowers families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, while providing mission opportunities for people of faith. Through collaboration with local congregations in the Toledo area, shelter is provided for homeless families. This organization has helped hundreds of people in families – most of them children- as they face the crisis of homelessness. The need for services continues to grow and Family Promise has been working hard to raise funds to reopen their doors on May 1, 2013.

I don’t know what it’s like to be homeless, but I have met some amazing people who are experiencing it, some wonderful parents and children in their own marathon, a journey to find a home. One day at a time, one hour at a time, they are working with Family Promise to reach that finish line and have a place to call home. By donating to my marathon run, you will be providing temporary emergency shelter for these families. Please join me in helping make the miles a little easier for the families in Northwest Ohio experience homelessness. All donations are tax deductible. I’ll be crossing my finish line on May 19; I hope you’ll join me in helping them cross theirs.

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Organization Information

Family Promise empowers families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, while providing mission opportunities for people of faith.

EIN: 341729468

Reports: Guidestar

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