I wanted to share an inspirational article from my recent edition of Runner's World. It is about an amazing vision of one Philadelphia woman who decided to make a difference in her city's homeless community.
All through the power of running.
THE STORY: On an early morning run past a Philladelphia homeless shelter – one she had run past many times – a simple idea stopped Anne Mahlum in her tracks. She decided to form a running club for the city's homeless.
Back on My Feet was born.
Mahlum's life was changed forever – and there was about to be a significant ripple effect through the streets of Philadelphia.
On her non-profit's web site, Mahlum wrote: "Running is such a beautiful metaphor for life. Life is about choosing different roads and our program teaches the importance of choosing roads filled with opportunity, hope and happiness.”
Here is a news clip out of Baltimore, the second city to launch a BOMF chapter:
THE CALL TO ACTION: After reading the Runner's World article, watching the videos, and spending most of my work day looking at the organization's web site, I felt inspired to do something.
Here is an e-mail that I sent Anne Mahlum:
Greetings from Fort Worth, Texas.
My prayer is that this e-mail is not lost in the chaos – because there isn’t a doubt in my mind that you are being bombarded with messages after the recent article in Runner’s World. Especially, if other people were impacted like me. (Your organization and its dedication to helping the homeless has consumed me for two straight days.)
I am a regular volunteer at Fort Worth’s largest homeless shelter (every Tuesday night) and an avid runner. To say that the RW article spoke directly to me, is a HUGE understatement.
Instead of writing a novel of an e-mail, I’m going to fire off a few bullet points (hopefully serving as a catalyst for future dialogue.)
• I want to bring your incredible organization to Fort Worth and help the approximately 4,000 homeless in our city.
• I’m aware of your organization’s mission of “growing smartly” to new cities across the country – I applaud and admire your dedication to that vision of sustained excellence.
• But I’m also aware Back on My Feet is considering expansion to more cities by the end of 2009. (At least one following the March launch in Baltimore.)
• Question: What can be done to get Fort Worth on your radar?
• Question: Are there any newsletters, articles, press releases etc. that lay out the timeline and the decision-making process surrounding expansion into Baltimore? (I’m very intrigued how the conversation started and how the ball got rolling.)
• Question: Is there a difference between “starting a team” and forming a chapter?
Just a little more about me:
• In May 2008, I quit my job as Director of Communications at Texas Christian University to start a new business that puts an emphasis on giving back. We facilitate online donations for significant life events (birthdays, graduations, weddings, memorials, etc.) My web site, which launched in December 2008: www.epartnersingiving.com
• At the same time, I decided that I needed to “walk the walk” in regards to giving back. That’s when I began my volunteer efforts at Presbyterian Night Shelter. (I’m also heavily involved with Big Brother Big Sisters, and The WARM Place – a local non-profit that counsels and mentors children who lost a loved one.)
• I have run in two marathons (Fort Worth’s Cowtown Marathon both times) and I’m currently training for Nashville’s Country Music Marathon in April.
I have copied several people on this e-mail to reinforce my seriousness and dedication to make this mission of bringing BOMF to Fort Worth a reality. (Some of these people are Presbyterian Night Shelter administrators and board members, city leaders – including Mayor Mike Moncrief, community supporters, and friends in the Fort Worth running community.)
I appreciate your time and I hope this e-mail is the start of long and beneficial conversation.
Take care and never stop giving back,
President / CEO
e-Partners in Giving
I decided to share this letter with you for the same reason I copied Fort Worth's mayor and some significant community supporters.
I AM DEDICATED AND DETERMINED
TO BRING THIS INCREDIBLE PROGRAM TO FORT WORTH!