Archive for the Member Updates category

Running Shoe Size: 8

Tony enjoying a little of his fave post face food with Jamie Burns.

Tony enjoying a little of his fave post face food with Jamie Burns.

Home Town:  Shelbyville, IN

Fave Music:  Heavy Metal and Rock N Roll

Fave Post Race Food: Bananas

Fave Food: Pepperoni Pizza

In what branch of the military did you serve?  Marines

Most memorable BoMF memory? “Probably the Joseph Maley Run last July. I set a goal of 35 minutes and I met it.”

Why did you come out for the BoMF team?  “My leg was in bad shape and I thought coming out to run with Back on My Feet  would help.”

What difference has BoMF made in your life? “My leg feel feels better and I’m in much better shape.  The friendships are a positive influence and the volunteers are encouraging. And of course I appreciate the grant money.”

What’s most challenging aspect of your life right now and how are you meeting that challenge? “Getting up in the morning. I am NOT a morning person.”

What races have you run in with BoMF? “A bunch – I’ve been running with the team for about a year. Some of the races are Carmel 5K, Out Run the Sun, Pogue’s Run, Eagle Creek Trail Run, Indy Monumental 5K and the BoMF 42K Relay

What do you like to do in your spare time? “Well I’m a pretty good car mechanic and I like to play chess online.”

BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) “I want to secure a steady income and my my own place.”

We give a runner’s salute to Tony for his commitment to the team and a pat on the back for improving his running times and distance.

April showers haven’t stopped these Members from running and improving their lives one step at a time! Their endurance and perseverance is down right inspiring.

jasonsmith Jason Smith, Non-Residential Members, Dallas LIFE
“I love being a part of Back on my Feet for a lot of reasons. The diverse stories across all members is refreshing. The confidence building, hope and determination is motivating. It’s a truly heart touching organization. I’m so proud and grateful to be a Member.”
BOMF(Dallas_Chapter)green Albert, Residential Member, Dallas LIFE
Albert joined the Dallas LIFE Back on My Feet family about a month ago and has been committed ever since!  He has maintained high attendance while participating in the nine month program at Dallas LIFE.  Albert has brought honesty and positivity to the team!
melissawaters Melissa Waters, Non-Residential Member, Salvation Army
“I started running only about four years ago. Once I developed this running habit and ran a race or two, I realized that there are very few things in life that can make you feel more encouraged, positive, and confident than reaching running goals. I feel that being able to run is a gift from God that I never knew was there. Now that I know, I want to share it! I love Back on My Feet because I get to do that very thing. Everyone needs some encouragement at some point in life. BoMF is a great way to encourage others and help them develop the confidence to get back on their feet. And It’s fun!”
BOMF(Dallas_Chapter)green Katherine, Residential Member, Salvation Army
Katherine is going three months strong as a dedicated member of the Salvation Army team! Since day one, Katherine has never missed a single run! She has challenged herself to start running and is making great strides towards accomplishing that goal!  
ginger Ginger Becker, Non-Residential Member, The Bridge
“Many people falling on hard times in their lives lose confidence in their abilities to succeed. And it’s completely understandable. We help people get through these trying times by giving them tools to succeed and providing important social integration through running. It’s through running that a person can learn a lot about themselves. These lessons in building physical and mental endurance, learning to push yourself beyond what you thought is possible, and even proper breathing technique easily translates to every day survival skills in life.”
claudis Claudis, Residential Member, The Bridge
Claudis has been a part of the Back on My Feet family for about a month and has had a smile on his face the entire time!  He brings such a positive spirit to Team bridge!  Claudis has challenged himself and has gone from not being able to run much at all to almost running 2 miles in the past month!  He has shown his commitment through 100% attendance and is the first to volunteer when given the opportunity.  He is an inspiration to many and on his way to his first 5K in the coming months!
jeffkuhn Jeff Kuhn, Non-Residential Member, Veterans Affairs
I love Back on My Feet because I truly believe that taking those first couple of steps to improve oneself is the hardest part to changing. I have truly enjoyed becoming part of the BoMF Family and enjoy my Wednesday’s Runs.”

barry Barry, Residential Member, Veterans Affairs
While Barry has served our country and survived a difficult past, he is looking towards his future! Barry has maintained 95% attendance with the Veterans team and is looking forward to moving out of the facility. Barry is the first to crack a joke, just ask his teammates!


Back on My Feet staff wanted to share this inspirational story of Tina (name changed) a Residential Member with Team Bridge in Dallas to show the collaborative effort required to assist individuals to self-sufficiency. While running is a huge piece of what we do, much more goes on behind the scenes…

This is her story as told by Dennis Strickland, The Bridge’s Homeless Recovery Manager –

Tina has experienced much in her 24 years before becoming homeless and showing up at The Bridge. She came to us in August of 2011, did intake and was referred to Austin Street Center for shelter. She enrolled in our care management and we started to learn more about her: With an 11th grade education and limited skills, she had resorted to prostitution on the streets.

There was also a history of hospitalizations at Terrell State Hospital. She had a schizoaffective diagnosis, but at the time of her intake she was not receiving treatment; we linked her to LifeNet Clinic at the Bridge.

Tina has come a long way. Following months of care management, and with her behavioral health care intact, Tina was moved to our Transitional Shelter and encouraged to join Back on My Feet (BoMF) for both physical exercise and peer mentoring. She has done well with that program.

Her BoMF case manager reports,

She has gone from being very timid, shy and closed off to one who has been committed, engaged and the first to give her morning hug to our members! I know Tina has been through a lot, and I am so encouraged by her commitment to our team. Her smile gives me hope and I believe she is making strides towards a bright future.

Tina has most recently become job ready, working with the on-site Texas Workforce team. She has just obtained part-time employment, but has aspiration for more. Tina is not home, yet, but we believe she is very close to finding her way home. Our partnership is making it possible for our Guests like Tina to recover from homelessness.

Back on My Feet is honored to be a part of Tina’s recovery!

Residential Member of the Month: Tim G.

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Tim G. joined Team Helping Up last November and has run over 200 miles.  He says his biggest challenge is, “Forcing myself to take it easy once in a while and give myself a break.  I’m always pushing myself to do more.”  His effort and hard work have paid off too.  He set a personal record of 21:02 at the recent MammoJam Jug Jog.  When asked about his performance, he says, “I never thought I’d be able to run that fast and I think I can do even better.”  His next race is the Nikia Half Marathon this weekend—his first 13.1 race!  In the next 3 months, he hopes to be gainfully employed.

Quote from Helping Up Team Leader Nathan: “Tim’s dedication to BoMF, his teammates and achieving his personal goals is truly admirable.  He’s had nearly perfect attendance since joining last year and he’s always staying connected to his teammates by running with different groups, enjoying our social events and a slight fascination with Facebook.  He’s already achieved great mileage and personal accomplishments with BoMF and we’re thrilled to see his performance at the upcoming Nikia Half Marathon and future races.”

Non-Residential Member of the Month: Jocelyn S.

non res photo

From left to right: Hannah (now HUM), Jocelyn, and Christine (now SoBo)

Jocelyn S. joined Back on My Feet in 2010 and started running with Team American Rescue Workers.  While taking some time off to heal an injury, she moved to Patterson Park and started running with Team Helping Up.  Her best BoMF moment to date is from last year’s Philadelphia Marathon.  “There was a Baltimore BoMF cheering section somewhere within the last mile of the race,” she recalls.  “Someone must have recognized me and started cheering… loudly.  As I ran by, I smiled.  It was the first time I had smiled in ten miles!  And it made the finish line so much sweeter to have shared that moment with them.  I have no idea who was in that cheering crowd, but I am so grateful for their support.”  Jocelyn’s next race is the Nikia Relay, which she is running with two of her closest friends who have never run with BoMF.  Jocelyn says, “I am so excited to introduce them to the warmest and most supportive running group out there… and by that I really mean the most awesome!!”

Name: Richard

Age: 55


Branch of the military: Army, Navy and Marine Core for 16 years; Philippines was his favorite place to be stationed

Hometown: Florida and Ohio. Richard hitchhiked from Santa Barbara in the late 70’s to get to Indianapolis

Favorite Color: Teal

Favorite Movie: Forest Gump

Favorite Music: New Age like Enya, it helps him relax

Favorite place to visit: San Antonio

If Richard could go anywhere in the world, he’d go back to: Southeast Asia

What does he like about BoMF: It wakes me up, gives me a good outlook on life and the day. It’s good for my mental health and physical well being. I’ve also met a lot of great people.

What do you want people to know: How much everyone means to me. I hardly ever see a negative attitude. Everyone is always happy and has a smile on their face, it puts me in a good mood. Thank you!

Richard’s long-term goal is to stay sober, he’s working on his program as he has four months clean.

Terrence on ice

Terrence Robinson has served as the Team Captain of the MCVET team ever since his teammates nominated him last August. Although Terrence’s work and school responsibilities sometimes prevent him from running with the BoMF team in the morning, he usually takes the time to circle up with his teammates for a few minutes before they start running. On these days, he playfully reports his distance as 0.1 miles – the distance from MCVET to the BoMF circle that gathers across the street.

When Terrence is out, he coaxes his fellow runners up hills and distracts them with carefree banter about his adolescent son who runs track. He consistently encourages his teammates, which he appreciated during his first race: the MCVET 5k last May. The former MCVET Team Leader paced Terrence during the race, yet Terrence knew the Team Leader could have easily outrun him. The dedication and camaraderie this action displayed struck Terrence and enabled him to realize that BoMF is about supporting others as they move their lives forward from homelessness to self-sufficiency.

Terrence is pleased with the ways his accomplishments are leading him toward self-sufficiency, especially his recent promotion toSecurity Staff at MCVET. While his new position still requires him to log his activities like a Vet Guard, he will now report to the Chief of Security and be solely responsible for the safety of every person in the building during his shift. This means that Terrence will be responsible for remedying emergency situations and for resolving conflicts that arise between MCVET residents.

Soon, Terrence plans to move into Single Room Occupancy (SRO), the final phase of the recovery program at MCVET. He happily says that this move “will allow me the good fortune of becoming an alumni of BoMF.” He’s also considering running the Nikia Half Marathon or joining a relay team in April. He says it depends on his schedule and ability to fit in training with his responsibilities for his recovery, school, and work. By August, Terrence plans to add 18 months clean and sober to his list of accomplishments and to complete the Commercial Industrial Maintenance Program at North American Trade. Looking more long-term, Terrence hopes to buy a home and send his son to college once he graduates in 2016. He believes that his ultimate goal of reintegrating into his family and community is well within his reach.

As he moves his life forward, Terrence hopes to give back and help others do the same through volunteering or sharing his story from addiction and homelessness to self-sufficiency in order to inspire others. Terrence says BoMF and MCVET have “plac[ed] me in position to take advantage of opportunities that I would have not been able to access otherwise…Skills to Succeed, financial assistance, credit counseling, and the renewing of my mind as well as my body.” The job preparation, job training, and financial literacy skills Terrence has learned, along with the support from his teammates, will help enable Terrence to accomplish his goals.


Erika and Joe!

Shoe Size? 9

Favorite post run food? I would have to say pizza.

Why do you run? I love how running makes me feel happy.

How many marathons/half marathons/5ks have you done? I just completed my 10th marathon in November!

Favorite race you’ve ever done? My favorite race is Tecumseh Trail Marathon because it was my first full marathon, plus I’m a big fan of trail running!

Bucket list item you plan to cross off soon? I would like to someday finish a half Ironman distance triathlon.

Favorite music? Christian and Pop/Rock.

Favorite vacation spot? Anywhere warm and near the ocean!

Family? I have one younger brother who runs the Indy Mini with me every year along with our mom. My dad isn’t a runner, but enjoys walking his dog.

How did you hear about BoMF? What has BoMF meant to you? Why did you stick with it? I heard about BoMF from a friend at church who is a non-resident runner, Andy Chandler. Andy mentioned BoMF several times and I finally went to a meeting to see what it was all about. BoMF has shown me how the power of community can help us become better people. Alone, we’d probably not be exercising outside in the early hours of the morning or building these friendships. However, together, we are able to become healthier physically, as well as emotionally. I stick with it because I am always in a better mood after running with BoMF!

What is your favorite memory of a time with BoMF so far? I remember one morning last spring we were running downtown from Warman and saw a mouse! I don’t want to name any names, but the little mouse really frightened one resident!

Advice for people who might want to start running with BoMF? I think that the most important thing to remember is always give your best. This is easier said than done, but I know that most of us are stronger than we think!


Circle up with Mike, Erika, Barb, and Joe on a freezing cold race day!

CHRIS R - Omar

Omar, on the left, poses with Ravens Running Back Ray Rice.

Residental Member of the Month: Omar

Omar joined the team at Christopher’s Place on October 17 and has made great strides, already accumulating 52 miles.  He has quite a few greatest moments, but the one that stands out is when he attended the pasta party at Christopher’s Place and was able to sit and talk with some really great people.  He recalls that evening as having such a positive and relaxed environment.  Omar finds running longer distances to be his biggest challenge, but he hopes to run a race in the near future.  He basically thinks about putting one foot in front of the other when he runs.  Team Leader, Diane calls Omar “the team’s number 1 cheerleader at all the Back on My Feet races!!”

Non-Residental Members of the Month: Chris and Brockett

CHRIS NR - Chris and Brockett

Chris and Brockett, also the “Dynamic Duo,” run with Christopher’s Place.  Brockett first joined BoMF in 2008, is one of the founding members of team CP, and continues to be a vital part of the team.  Chris joined in 2011 because he saw how happy Brockett was when she came home after her morning run.  Chris’ favorite moment since joining, was seeing Arnell’s pride at finishing the Baltimore half.  Brockett loves the feeling of being inspired to be part of a group of unlike people who are so alike.  When these two are running, they tend to think about each other.  Brockett hopes that Chris’ knee isn’t hurting, and Chris is hoping that Brockett’s IT band isn’t hurting.  Other than that, they count Ravens jerseys.  You may not know this, but Brockett and Chris dated for eleven years before getting married.  And they are the cutest darn couple,” says Team Leader Diane.

Running Shoe Size:10

Joe, Tom and Brian before the BoMF 42K Relay.

Home Town/Family: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, two sisters, one brother

Fave Athletes/Coaches: Tim Duncan, (center San Antonio Spurs), Tom Brady (QB New England Patriots), Bobby Knight (former IU basketball coach)

Fave Music: Easy Listening

Fave Post Race Food: Fruit

Fave Food: Baked Chicken

In what branch did you serve? Navy, four years as a machinist

Most memorable BoMF memory? Climbing what seemed like mountains in the Planet Adventure trail run. Leon and I were jumping logs and encouraging a group of female runners and they were doing the same to us.

Why did you come out for the BoMF team?  To be part of a group and be held accountable. It makes you get up in the morning and run. I like the races, the individual accomplishments and cheering each other on.

What difference has BoMF made in your life? I’m more physically fit and mentally tough.

What’s most challenging aspect of your life right now and how are you meeting that challenge? Right now it’s getting a job.

What races have you run in with BoMF? Which one was your fave? Outrun the Sun, Joseph Maley Run, Drumstick Dash, Planet Adventure Trail Run, Trinity Trot and the BoMF 42K Relay. I’d say the 42K Relay and the Planet Adventure Trail Run were my favorites.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I like to watch movies, all kinds like action, tech movies and even love stories.  It takes a really funny movie to make me laugh though. I also like to read. Dr. William Glasser is one of my favorite authors.

Joe’s BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals). I’d like to find consistent employment and complete the RN program that I will start in April. It should take about a year. Eventually I’d like to return to Milwaukee to be closer to my parents and siblings.

We give a runner’s salute to Joe
for his commitment to the Warman Warriors
Back on My Feet Team, his kind eyes and million dollar smile!

Joe finishes strong with his BoMF 42K Relay Team of Tom, Leon and Emily

Crossing the finish line at the Planet Adventure Trail Run

Taking it easy before Outrun the Sun


Karen and Jay at the BoMF Christmas Party!

Shoe Size? 10 Narrow

Favorite post run food? Chocolate Milk!!!

How many marathons/half marathons/5ks have you done? 5 half marathons in 2011

Favorite race you’ve ever done? Dances with Dirt – A relay race through the hills, trails, and streams of Brown County.  Every leg is different – and each person runs three segments.  The total race is 100K (62 miles) so each person runs close to a half marathon distance.  Bring a change of shoes and clothes for each leg – because you will be wet and muddy!  And bring a sense of humor – there are costumes, themes, music along the way and a pig roast at the end.

Favorite music? Jam bands – some old (Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, Widespread Panic) and some newer (Dave Matthews, Umphrey’s Mcgee)

Favorite athlete/team/sport? IU Basketball – Go Hoosiers!

Favorite vacation spot? Tough call, because I love to travel and try new places.  But, my favorite vacation was probably when we went to the Grand Canyon.  We went on a week long rafting trip from Marble Canyon to the Grand Canyon National Park and hiked out the Bright Angel trail.  We are part of a group of about 25 people.  We did many side hikes along the way and camped out under the stars every night.  The best part was 7 days with my family (including two teenage boys) with no electronics – no email or work disruptions for me, and no texting or electronic gaming for my boys!.

Tell us about your family? Married with two young adult boys (Patrick, 20 and Michael, 17) and a Golden Retriever (Sadie).  My mom, sister, 2 nieces and 2 nephews live in town, and my brother and his family are in Trujillo, Peru.  I also have more cousins around the world than you can count!

What is your most memorable BoMF memory? Running the Women’s Half.  BoMF had a water station set up in a spot where we were able to see the guys on the way out and on the way back, so it was a great support on a hot, steamy day.  The best memory, though was coming back to run with the group on Monday morning and being told by one of the BoMF runners, “yeah, you all looked good going out, but you girls weren’t looking so pretty on the way back!”  Truer words were never spoken! : )

How did you hear about BoMF?  Why did you stick with it?  What has BoMF meant to you?   I decided to start running with BoMF after seeing the group at the Joseph Maley run at Eagle Creek.  I could tell they were a close group, and I wanted to learn more and to be part of the fun.  I have loved getting to know the many runners in the group;  seeing the newer runners achieve running goals they may have never considered before – finishing their first 5K, half marathon or full marathon; while at the same time achieving their personal goals of new jobs, new housing.  I now look forward to my morning runs with BoMF.  Not only do I get my work out done by 6:30 am, but I get to start my day with good conversation, the support of the group, and an abundance of hugs!  What a great way to start the day!