Mighty Milers Program
In the interests of giving back to the local community and inspiring the next generation of female runners, the Impalas began a "Fitness Through Running" program based on the New York Road Runners "Mighty Milers" youth program.
In order to fund this program, we applied for a Community Benefits Grant from the Kaiser Permanente Foundation and were thrilled to be among the 10% of applicants who received a grant. An important aspect of the grant was to collaborate with underserved communities in San Francisco, so we partnered with MLK, a Middle School in the Excelsior district that has a high percentage of children on the free lunch program.
We designed the program to cover two 10-week sessions in the fall and spring semesters of the 2015-16 academic year. Each session culminated in a 5k race in Golden Gate Park that's organized by the local chapter of Girls On The Run (GOTR.)
This was truly a 'takes a village' experience, with many Impalas participating in a variety of ways: volunteering at the weekly sessions, designing the workouts, sourcing donations as prizes for the girls, designing a t-shirt with "Run Like A Girl" on the front, donating pedometers so that each girl could track her steps. For the second semester, we even had a shoe donor -- George Pierce, CEO of 7Dynamics -- who came out with a van full of shoes for the girls. A few of the MLK teachers were instrumental in facilitating communication between the Impalas and the school administration, and these teachers often participated at workouts as well.
The workouts consisted of a variety of games and running activities to build both speed and endurance. We intentionally targeted girls who would not likely join the school track team, and who benefited greatly from participating in a girls-only environment. Small incentive prizes were given for completing mileage increments, and each girl was encouraged to increase her own mileage without comparing herself to her classmates.
With unending energy of our members and the invaluable help of our sponsors, we look forward to continuing the program indefinitely by rolling it into the GOTR organization in the fall of 2016.