We Run This City! | The Washington Center

We Run This City!

On Sunday morning, I rose out of bed at an unspeakable hour (for a weekend at least), and started my run. As I ran under the light of the street lamps, I saw some neighbors just stumbling home after a long night out. They peered at me, slightly confused, as I was in running gear, but also wearing a glittered Santa hat, some jingle bells, and lots of red and white Christmas tree tinsel. Barreling down the hill towards the Mall, I remembered that today, I wasn’t running for myself, but for my internship. Over the course of this semester, I had the honor of being a coach for Teens Run D.C. (TRDC).

 

Teens Run D.C. is a human services nonprofit organization that works in partnership with public schools in at-risk communities around the District. As a coach for TRDC, I get to teach sixth, seventh and eighth graders how to run, and share why running can be such a positive outlet for their lives. But, more than that, I get to be a mentor to them, an adult that they can trust. My co-coach who is working with TRDC for the year summed up the experience perfectly:

 

“Being a TRDC Coach is incredible. You help to form a community and build a bond through long distance running and seeing the students at school. It’s such a special experience!” – Coach Erez

 

 

Every school has a different schedule, but at the school Erez and I work at, we have a lunch club with the students and afterschool running programs. During the day, we incorporate a workshop about life skills in an informal way. We encourage the students to ask any questions they might have along the way. We have discussions on self-control, respect, honesty, and we ask the students if they have topic suggestions as well. I know I would have benefited from this in middle school! Working with middle schoolers had its ups and downs, but I think these are the years that adolescents benefit the most from a unique program like TRDC. These students are at a stage in their lives where they are still kids, but have to act like adults, so it can become confusing. Providing physical fitness after school, we incorporate the life skill lessons into a game, which of course involves running!

 

The afterschool running program was designed in order for the students to be able to run a 5k at the end of the semester. On Sunday, as the sun was rising and I was on the straight-away towards the Washington Monument, I was running to this 5k. I have always had the mindset that I run for those who can’t, because one day I might not be able to. However TRDC taught me WHY I run, and that is so others will want to run as well, especially the younger generations. As I got closer to the monument, I saw a lot of familiar faces all ready and eager; for some it would be their first race and the longest they had ever run. I ran with one of the girls from my school, and I saw her push herself way further than I had seen her in practice, with a smile on her face the whole time. At the end of the race she said “I wanted to be quiet, to walk, but I looked at you, and I knew you wouldn’t let me."

 

 

As I reflect on my time at TRDC, I have a smile on my face, knowing that if nothing else, I made a difference in a student’s life, and they found a passion for something that is such a huge part of my life: running.

 

Here's to an awesome last week,

Hannah


Read Hannah's previous blog posts here

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