One of my favorite charities is Marathon Kids. It originated in Austin over 16 years ago!
ABOUT THE PROGRAM
Marathon Kids learn to live an active and healthy lifestyle by running or walking 26.2 miles over six months, eating healthy food daily, and even learning to grow fruits and veggies!
The program is provided free to public and private elementary schools, as well as homeschools, or independent families. Physical educators, classroom teachers, and parents can incorporate Marathon Kids into their curriculum, after school programs, and at home with their families.
KICK-OFF EVENT 2011
My sister and I volunteered at their season “kick-off” a couple of weekends ago. I’ve been volunteering with them for the last 3 years.
Here is a group of volunteers getting briefed before the first group of kids arrived.
Nutrition. Susan Combs, former Ag commissioner, currently Texas State Comptroller. She was a key player in working on what is served in public school lunch rooms when she was Ag commissioner and it a public health advocate for healthy eating. She spoke to the volunteers about her role and history with the program befor the event began and addressed the children during the event.
And then the kids started filing in. Most schools wore matching shirts, carried signs, and had tons of spirit. The kids are K-5 ages from Austin and surrounding school districts. The program is also available to private and home schooled children.
My sister and I were tasked with being greeters/cheerleaders
I was the oldest cheerleader in the group, lol. We had mostly high school and college kids working the entrance of the event, which was held at Mike Meyers stadium, home of University of Texas Soccer.
Marathon kids events are always fun, colorful, and very festive. The set-up for the “kick-off” is much like the finale, big balloon arches and race scaffolding. Very exciting for the kids.
The “kick-off” event has the kids beginning their first mile of the program (they did 1 lap). They have until Feburary to run and/or walk a total of 26.2 miles. This can be done at school, with their families, etc. Great way to promote fitness in the schools and at home.
It was so great to see all of the kids full of energy and taking off. Most of them were able to run a whole lap. What was really sad though, is most of the parents and teachers were not even able to slow jog it.
Each school was taken to the track, lap done, then the kids were loaded up with healthy goodies and really fun promotional items from the sponsors. This event is really great at hyping the kids up for the goal they are setting out to accomplish.
For more information on volunteering, donations, or the program in your area, Marathon Kids Get Involved. The program is currently up and running in Austin, Dallas, El Paso, Los Angeles, Houston, the Rio Grande Valley (Texas), Baltimore, Chicago and Navajo Nation.