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RRCA Announces 2012 Kids Run the Nation Grant Recipients

ARLINGTON, VA - The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is pleased to announce the 2012 Kids Run the Nation grant recipients.  Twenty-eight programs throughout the US including a program at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan, will receive a total of $21,000 in grants from the RRCA. In addition, another fourteen programs will receive over 3,000 complementary copies of the Kids Run the Nation: A Running Guide for Kids booklets to give out to program participants.

Since 2007, the RRCA has provided over $70,000 in small grants to deserving youth running programs around the country through the Kids Run the Nation Fund. The Kids Run the Nation Fund is designed to provide needed resources to launch and support youth running programs around the country as an opportunity to address the on-going inactivity and obesity crisis facing today’s youth.

“The RRCA is thrilled by the interest in the Kids Run the Nation Grant Fund, as application submissions increased by over 300% compared to last year,” explained Jean Knaack, RRCA Executive Director. “We received over 230 applications for programs that are getting over 80,000 children running regularly, and they are all deserving of financial support.”

The Kids Run the Nation program is a gender inclusive, multi-week, turnkey, youth running program designed to meet the physical activity goals outline by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for children in grades kindergarten through sixth grade. The program can also be modifies to better serve older grades. Through this program, the RRCA’s vision is to help establish locally managed youth running programs in every grade school in America.

Congratulations to the following grant recipients:

Iwakuni Youth Road Runners - Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan

The Marine Corps Community Services will implement this start-up youth running program and hope to serve approximately 750 children. The program will emphasize the importance of regular exercise and will be implemented twice a year. Each session will include 10-weeks of instruction and conclude with a 2K and 5K fun run. This program will provide healthy outlets for the children (ages 5-18) of military families stationed at MCAS Iwakuni.  These children face challenges including long separations from deployed parents, changes in familiar surroundings with relocations on a 3-year basis, and adapting to the culture of a foreign country.

Run Free Texas - Austin, TX

Run Free Texas is a 12-week walking and running program that is focused on at-risk youth who are faced with deteriorating family structures, gang activity, criminal activity, violence in schools, peer pressure, bullying, substance abuse, and other social challenges. The mission of the program is to utilize physical activity as a catalyst to encourage, restore, and unify the participating youth in a supportive yet challenging physical environment. Youth are referred to the program through juvenile probation departments, and they will receive community service hours for each class. After the completion of the 12-week program, they will participate in a nonprofit community race of their choice. However, the youth will have to earn their own race entry fees from organized fundraisers, which will provide the youth with a sense of ownership and responsibility.

Joplin Y Kids Run the Nation – Joplin, MO

The Joplin Kids Run the Nation program is a 10-week course that serves children from lower-income families, many of whom reside in single-parent households. The program is offered in conjunction with the Y’s Awesome Adventure Summer Day Camp and the RRCA Run the Nation program materials are utilized in the program.  The program has 385 campers and more than 40% of the children enrolled in the day camp receive financial assistance. There is no additional cost to participate in the Joplin Kids Run the Nation program. Children in the program range in age from 5 - 14. During the 10-weeks of summer day camp, they meet with a certified running coach 2-days per week. The program is designed to foster healthy living, self-esteem, and family interaction through running and walking.

Reston Runners Youth In Motion - Reston, VA
Reston Runners’ Youth In Motion (YIM) program is a non-competitive summer youth running and fitness program.  Their mission is to introduce youth to the joy of running and running-related activities in a fun atmosphere while facilitating an active and healthy lifestyle.  Reston YIM has nearly 400 participants each summer ranging in age from 3-14.  Their program has ten weekly sessions with two time trials during the summer.  The program culminates with a fun race and party.

Mayor’s One Hundred Mile Challenge – Tucson, AZ
The Southern Arizona Roadrunners’ goal is to create a children’s running program for K-12 in Tucson, Arizona. The club is partnering with Mayor Jonathan Rothschild’s office to promote a “Run 100 Miles with the Mayor” program over the time period of January - May 2013. Every month from January through May there will be three to four opportunities to run or walk with Mayor Rothschild and other civic leaders at such locations as city parks, farmer’s markets, schools, and neighborhood gardens.  The club has a goal of incorporating smart eating and local food is an important part of the youth fitness program. Children who complete 100 miles will receive a special finisher’s medal and will be given a free entry into the big summertime night run, the Meet Me Downtown 5k Night Run and Walk, staged in Downtown Tucson on the grounds of the Children’s Museum of Tucson. The Mayor has created a Health and Wellness Task Force that has chosen this two-part program for Spring 2013 as the principle method to promote healthy habits.  The intent is to broaden children’s exercise to motivate intergenerational exercise.

Calvin Hunsinger Running Club – Clearwater, FL
The Calvin Hunsinger School serves emotionally troubled students in K-12th grade. The majority of the students (98%) live below the poverty level and receive free or reduced breakfast and lunch. The students have emotional and behavioral problems, which prevent them from being successful in a regular school environment. The running club promotes goal setting for students, increases their self-esteem, and gives students a sense of accomplishment. Incentives for completing a specific distance are provided as well as awards to students who demonstrated good sportsmanship behavior.

Marathon Fitness Challenge - Hopkinton, MA
The Marathon Fitness Challenge is a free fitness program offered in cooperation with the Elmwood School Wellness Department.  The 8-week, incentive-based program is designed to encourage children to run or walk during P.E. class twice a week and log their miles to reach the ultimate distance of a marathon. Students are encouraged to run or walk additional miles at home with parents, older siblings, or friends. Students that log the most miles are awarded with the Golden Sneaker.  The program serves 600 children.

Cortez Running Club - Las Vegas, NV
The Cortez Running Club started three years ago to provide an extracurricular activity to help promote a healthy and active lifestyle for students at Cortez Elementary. The program focuses on participation and provides incentives that enable students to receive rewards for every five miles they run. Cortez Elementary is a K-5th grade school in Las Vegas, NV and serves a predominantly Hispanic population. Most student receive free and reduced price lunch plan, and Cortez ES is classified as an at risk school. The students that participate in the running club are highly engaged and thoroughly motivated by the fact they can earn rewards and proudly display them by wearing their necklaces.

Run Fun Afterschool - Springfield, VT
The Fun Run Program serves students in the Springfield school system in grades 3rd – 5th for six Tuesdays after school for one hour each day.  Working with a certified teacher and a nutritionist the students will focus on goal setting, healthy life styles, running based education, stretching, and cooling down. Students will be provided with healthy snacks as well as promotional shirts for their Fun Run at the completion of the program.  Students will also be provided with a pedometer to track mileage efforts.

Kids Run the Nation - Pine Hill, NJ
John H. Glenn Elementary, located in Pine Hill, NJ, is a K-5 school, serving a diverse background of students. The population is of low socioeconomic status with approximately 50 % of the students receiving free or reduced lunch and breakfast meals.  Elementary schools in the school district do not have after school sports programs. This program is the first year offering of a running program to students. Students from grades K-5 to meet one day a week for one hour after school from March to early June. The program will encourage parents as well as local police department to participate. Weekly session will begin with lessons in nutrition, stretching, running stamina, and setting goals. Participants will end the program with a 1 mile fun run in late May.

Garfield Track Stars – Olympia, WA

Garfield Elementary School is a Title I school with approximately 325 students.  Nearly 65% of Garfield Students receive free and reduced lunch, and the student population is diverse with 40% of the students considered an ethnic minority. The student’s have one of the highest homeless rates in the Olympia school district.  Garfield Track Stars is in its 4th year of operation. This program runs throughout the entire school year and is available to all students. Students earn charms and certificates by walking or running around the school track which is .3 For every 3 miles a student completes, they earn a charm to wear on a necklace.  For every marathon a student completes, they will receive a certificate, a special marathon charm for their necklace, and recognition by the principal at one of the school’s assemblies.

Tiger Tracks - Mansfield, AR

Tiger Tracks is a new program will be open to students in grades K-6 that attend Mansfield Public Schools.  Beginning in January, students interested in running will meet one day per week after school.  Students will receive incentives after logging 5, 10, 15 and 20 miles.  Students will be invited to participate in a 5K walk/run in mid-April. The school district serves mostly rural students, and a high percentage of students are classified as obese or overweight.  The program will provide weekly opportunities to learn about fitness, run with group support, and work toward a goal. 

Lincoln Bear Cub Running Club - Lincoln, AL
This program was developed during the 2011 school year at Lincoln Elementary School.  Students are encouraged to run as many 1/4mile segments as possible during a 45-minute time period.  The program allows children to run laps in preparation for the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama Mercedes Kids Marathon in Birmingham, AL.  The program also encourages physical fitness for Lincoln Elementary school students. Each participant sets mileage goals and is provided the opportunity to stay focused during club time to meet their goals.  The program has grown dramatically during its first year and now serves over 125 children.

Kids on Track - Lexington, KY
Picadome Elementary Family Resource Center (PEFRC) is a resource for families to remove any barriers they may have with accessing school services as well as community resources. PEFRC will run the Kids on Track in conjunction with the school’s PE teacher. During recess students have the option of walking or running on the school’s unpaved trail.  Students track their laps on a running log and are awarded certificates for completing a specified number of laps.  This program incorporates a student population of around 520 students. An additional component of the program is an after school running club that targets 3rd through 5th grade boys and girls. The after school portion allows students to be in a safe supervised environment so they can train to run a 5K, which will takes place at the end of the program. The program utilizes the Kids Run the Nation curriculum materials.

Fun Run Club - Lake Wales, FL

This growing running program targets students K-5th during P.E. class at Hillcrest Elementary School. The student population of 630 is 54.2% white, 35.1% black, and 10.7% other with 70% of the students receiving free and reduced lunch. The students have a fun run once a week during PE and their families are invited to join the activity. Students walk or run on a 1/4mile track where laps are counted and accumulated for prizes after reaching twenty laps. At the end of the school year, the top three boys and top three girls in each grade level receive medals.  The program’s goal is to extend by adding both a before and after school running club component.

Ravens Run for Fun - Rio Rancho, NM
The Ravens Run for Fun is a new program that will be made available to all the students who attend the Cielo Azul Elementary School after school program called Students Achieving For Excellence (SAFE) Program. The SAFE program is an academic and recreational program that promotes healthy habits for their students by introducing the concepts of physical activity. The Ravens Run for Fun program will provide healthy snacks, hydration materials, and incentives to program participants.  The program will serve over 100 children and will be led by staff members with athletic backgrounds in competitive running.

Kids Running of Horry County - Myrtle Beach, SC

The Grand Strand Running Club (GSRC) implemented a youth running program in 2010 on the RRCA: Kids Run the Nation program. The club has taught elementary and middle school children, as well as their parents, the principles of non-competitive running. In 2012, the GSRC Kids Running program consisted of over 20 participants, and was led by dedicated coaches including the legendary Zola (Budd) Pieterse. In 2012, the GSRC is supporting Ocean Bay Elementary School’s 4th and 5th grade after school running program, which consists of over 60 children. The program teaches the principles of safe running, stretching, warm-up, cool down, hydration, and healthy eating. Participants are given incentive awards, written materials, and will be entered in a local race at the completion of the program. It is anticipated that in the future the program will be expanded to include other Horry County schools.

Irving School Mile Club – Bozeman, MT

All 300 students at Irving Elementary School are taught running skills and the value of an active lifestyle during health education classes, and approximately half (150) of those students participate voluntarily in the Mile Club. The Mile Club is a running program open to every student in 1st - 5th grades. The program encourages students to run or walk during lunch hours and recess. Students complete a 1/8th mile circuit around the school grounds, collecting a Popsicle stick for each lap. After 8 laps, students exchange sticks for a token signifying one mile. Each student receives a chain for collecting their tokens, and many students proudly wear their achievements each day to school. The club also serves as a mentoring program where 5th graders work with Kindergarteners to involve them in running. The club format has helped combat loneliness, bullying, and other social challenges typical of a school playground. Kids who might have no one to play with participate in the Mile Club, which is social, and students feel they are now part of a group.

Greenwood Elementary Running Program - Greenwood Village, CO
Greenwood Elementary offers a year-round structured running program for all students in grades K-5th at no cost to the participants, and the club is open to both boys and girls. Started in 2011 by parents as part of the PTO’s Health and Wellness Committee, the running program has grown in scope.  The club originally met just one morning per week in the spring, and now meets year-round, weather permitting.  Further, the school P.E. coach now incorporates running training into the school’s physical education program for all grades on a regular basis.  The extended day program at Greenwood has recently started leading running sessions after school as well. To further increase participation and enthusiasm for running and to provide a fun goal for the kids, an Annual BFF (Best Foot Forward) Fun Run was established in 2011. By holding a true-to-life running event for students, parents, and teachers each year, the goal is to create a training ground for future adult runners.

Porter Recess Runners Club - San Diego, CA

Porter Elementary is located in San Diego, CA, and opened in 2006 to a diverse student population consisting of 76% Hispanic, 19% African American, 2% Asian, 3% Pacific Islander, and 1% other.  The new Porter Recess Runners Club will launch in 2013 with the program focusing on participation and to encourage the development of healthy, life-long activity patterns for students. The club will follow the model of students running laps and receiving incentives after completing distance goals.  The students at the school also have a 1-hour block of P.E. each week with a credentialed P.E. teacher that will incorporate running into his program using the Kids Run the Nation guide.

Meadowview Running Club – Farmington, MN
Meadowview Running Club is a program designed to create physical activity at recess for all students in grades 1-5 in a safe and positive environment at Meadowview Elementary School.  The purpose of this program is to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle and reverse the trend in child obesity.  This programs starts at the beginning of the school year and continues until the last day of school.  Students track their mileage on a chart in their classroom. The program serves over 600 students.

Marguerite Montgomery Elementary School Running Club – Davis, CA
Marguerite Montgomery Elementary is a K-6th grade school in Davis, CA where 50% of the student population lives below the poverty level.  The running club has operated as a free after school program two days a week.  Over 100 kids in the after school program have signed up for the running club program. In 2011, the club has also included an additional 150 students that participate in an after-school program for those struggling academically.  These students participate in the running club activities before starting their tutoring sessions. Program leaders have found that while these children may not have joined the running club on their own, many are catching the running bug. The running club focuses on participation and offers incentives for reaching mileage milestones. The club is supervised by a teacher and staffed by parent volunteers. The running club ends each year with a celebration.

Campo Bello Eagles on the Move- Phoenix, AZ

Campo Bello Elementary School is a Title I school that serves a diverse student population and is located in an urban community where safe play-spaces are limited. Eighty-six percent of the students qualify for free or reduced lunches, with many of the students living in poverty. In 2012, the BMI data for students revealed that 49% of the students were either overweight or obese as measured by the Center for Disease Control standards. The school has undertaken a project to build a defined walking and running path around their playground area.  Current the Campo Bello Eagles on the Move during recess periods.  The student’s laps recorded, and students earn tokens and recognition as they reach milestones throughout the program.

Fairview’s Fast Falcons – Lansing, MI
Fairview Elementary School serves K-3rd grade low-income families, and approximately half of the student population qualifies for free or reduced lunch.  Fairview’s Fast Falcons will launch as a running program for 2-3rd graders.  The program will meet afterschool for an hour, one day a week for 11-weeks. The program will incorporate the Kids Run the Nation curriculum along with lessons and activities related to team-building skills and social skills. The goal of the program will be to promote and increase self-esteem, physical activity, and healthy lifestyle choices of the student participants.

YMCA Summer Day Camp Marathon Challenge – Omaha, NE
At the YMCA of Greater Omaha, they have a life changing impact to the children, adults, and families they serve through programs that focus on three key areas: youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Their summer day camp program serves 1000 children and 2013 they will launch the Summer Day Camp Marathon Challenge that will encourage all camp participants to run at least 26.2 miles over a 9-week period.  The program will be offered at eight of the greater Omaha locations and will include multiple activities each day for kids to reach their goal over the 9-week period.  Participating children will be encouraged to run with their counselors at least 3-days per week, building up to running at least 1-mile at one time, preparing for a 1-mile fun run during the summer.

5k Run/Walk Club – Elkhart, IN

Elkhart’s 5k Run/Walk Club starts the first week of February meeting on Mondays and Wednesdays for twelve weeks. Students, staff, parents, and grandparents start walking or running for a one-hour period.  Staff members give out weekly incentives for each mile.  At the end of the 12 weeks, prizes are awarded for the most laps completed.  On the last weekend there is the Daly Dash 5K for the whole community, which the students participate in. 

Soaring Eagles - Jim Falls, WI

The Soaring Eagles Running Club is a new running program started September 2012 at Jim Falls Elementary. Jim Falls is a rural school with a population of 132 students, and 24% of the student population receives free and reduced lunch.  Students in 4th grade run during their recess with the support of their classroom teacher, and they wear pedometers in order to tracks miles run.  Students establish weekly goals in hopes of “running” to the State Capitol, and they log their miles to monitor their goals.  This running program helps promote wellness and make students more aware of their activity level both in and out of school through the use of pedometers.  The program will run 4 months, 2-3 times per week for 30-minutes during recess.  The culminating activity will be participating in a local 5K run as a team.  The goal is to expand the program to include all grades at the school.

Fox Trot Running Club – Belmont, CA

Monday and Wednesday mornings, prior to the start of the school day, students run or walk laps around the field at Fox School. All Fox School students in K-5th grade are encouraged to participate in the running club. Parents, grandparents and younger siblings also participate. Each participant has a running card which they carry as they go around the track. When 20 laps are tallied the student receives a token.

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