The RRCA has granted more than $300,000 to youth running programs since 2007.
ARLINGTON, Virginia – October 27, 2020 – The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is pleased to announce the 2020 Kids Run the Nation grant recipients. Since the grant fund’s inception in 2007, the RRCA has distributed more than $300,000 to youth running programs nationwide. This year, 11 programs from ten states serving nearly 600 children will receive a total of $10,000 in funding. Despite sweeping event cancellations and limited club activities, RRCA members, individual donors, and the Insurance Management Group (IMG) and K&K Insurance, have once again shown their support for gender-inclusive, participation-based running education through their contributions to the Kids Run the Nation Fund.
A new program at West County Family Support Center in Odenton, MD will serve low-income teen parents ages 13-18 who are attending school virtually. The wellness-focused program will help each young parent set and reach running goals to help boost their self-esteem and manage the stress that comes with childbirth, emotional and health concerns, and developmental challenges. In support of the center’s core values of L.O.V.E. (Lead by example, Observe, Validate, and Encourage) the running program will promote healthy relationships between peers, teachers, and community.
Open to all members ages 6-19, the Port Angeles Unit Boys & Girls Club Running Club in Sequim, WA encourages young runners to maintain healthy habits and have fun through the sport of running. Many club members face housing or food insecurity and/or have parents who are incarcerated or who are struggling with addiction. The inclusive, participation-focused program aims to be a sanctuary and offers positive adult guidance to all children, including LGBTQ+ youth and those with cognitive or physical disabilities. Beginning on schools’ running tracks and progressing to local trails, the program builds young runners’ endurance at their own pace and culminates in a goal race.
Never Give Up, a program of White’s Residential and Family Services, helps Indiana youth in the juvenile justice system establish discipline and overcome trauma and addiction while training for and completing two 5k races each year. The program teaches young runners that they are capable of achieving success in their lives and helps those who have been sexually and physically abused reconnect with their bodies. Most participants come from economically challenged homes and are referred by the Departments of Child Services, Probation, Corrections, and Education statewide. On race days, many of the participants’ probation officers come to campus to run with them, ultimately helping them reach their goals for overall health and well-being.
The youth running programs chosen to receive grants this year represent the diversity of the Kids Run the Nation Fund’s impact, both geographically and demographically. The following is a complete list of this year’s 11 Kids Run the Nation grant recipients:
All Saints Running Club – Broken Arrow, OK
Fern Flying Eagle Running Club – Honolulu, HI
Hope Harbor Run Club – Claremore, OK
Kids Run the Nation – Princeton, WV
Never Give Up – Wabash, IN
Port Angeles Unit Boys & Girls Club Running Club – Sequim, WA
Runner's Edge Youth Running – Boca Raton, FL
The CARE Running Club – Escondido, CA
Under Thunder Runners – Juneau, AK
Villa Marie Running Club – Waverly, NE
West County Family Support Center Running Team – Odenton, MD
The RRCA will also donate copies of the Program Guide for Teachers, Coaches, and Program Leaders and the Running Guide for Kids booklet to additional programs.
“This year’s grantees showcase the benefits of providing a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment for participants to learn and grow through the sport of running. Facing challenges head-on, overcoming trauma, and developing healthy, life-long habits will set up young runners for a lifetime of success in sport and in life,” explains Erica Gminski, the RRCA’s Youth Programs Manager. “The differing approaches to fostering a love for the sport of running in positive, encouraging settings speak to the diversity of the populations served by our grantees. Each program helps to further the Kids Run the Nation program’s goal of combating childhood obesity and developing a wellness-focused generation.”
About Kids Run the Nation: 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 kindergarten through sixth grade. A midcourse report issued by the USDA, “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,” outlines clear evidence that bringing physical activity into schools positively impacts youth. Since 2007, the RRCA has provided over $300,000 in small grants to deserving youth running programs around the country through the Kids Run the Nation Fund. The goal of the RRCA's Kids Run the Nation program is to help establish locally managed youth running programs in every school and community across the U.S.