Posts Tagged birthday

BOSTON — PHIL HAILER – In so many ways conditions were perfectly imperfect for BoMF Boston’s five teams to gather last week for its second birthday run on the Boston Common. The results spoke for themselves. It looked like it was going to rain, but it didn’t. From the outside looking in, it might have even seemed like a well organized event, but it wasn’t. No one from the BoMF brain- trust had a clue as to how many people would show up to this 5:45 a.m. extravaganza. But show up they did. By the dozens, in fact. Resident and non-resident members and team leaders alike from all five squads came by subway, by bus, by car, by bike, and by foot. The only thing missing was a horse, and there was probably one around there somewhere too.

Some even waited for the event at the wrong street corner a block away. It was a true perfectly imperfect BoMF Boston moment when those folks loudly grumbled, groused, and squawked their way up to the corner of Tremont and Park Streets where they promptly threw Vic (a.k.a, Mr. Teflon) right under the bus. And yet like all things BoMF related, and true professional that he is (whereas he has seen many a bus undercarriage), Vic kept smiling and it somehow all worked out in the end.

Of course, it didn’t hurt to have a special guest add some serious cachet and inspiration to the morning’s festivities. All time running great Dick Hoyt graced the crowd with his presence and words of encouragement. His legendary exploits as the leader of Team Hoyt running with his physically challenged son Rick for more than three decades in more than 1,000 races, including 30 Boston Marathons and a host of triathlons (six of which being Ironman challenges) is the stuff of sports legend lore that few can understand but all can admire and appreciate.

With Team Hoyt’s slogan: Yes You Can!, there is a message there for everyone. BoMF Boston was truly blessed to hear from this sports icon at the birthday run and can’t wait to hear more from him when he speaks at BoMF’s birthday breakfast on June 11 . (If you’re a Res or Non Rest and haven’t RSVPed yet, be sure to do so to bridget@backonmyfeet.org by June 1!)

After Hoyt spoke, it was time to go for a group run, but once again it was another perfectly imperfect BoMF Boston moment when the realization struck that no one had planned a route for the 50 or so in attendance. So it was left to the one with the biggest mouth to shout out: ” Go down Tremont, turn right on Boylston, turn right on Dartmouth, turn right on Comm. Ave, run through the park and get back here.” Someone said, “What was that again?” The response? “Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. Just kidding. Shut up and follow the guy in front of you.”

Despite the ad hoc course, no one got lost because return they all did. In fact, they returned to a perfectly imperfect runner’s breakfast of coffee and donuts courtesy of a little (very little) TLC from Chez Donuts du Dunkin’ across the street. And even that establishment has an improbable place in BoMF Boston’s rich and colorful two year history.

A few weeks earlier while holding a pre-dawn non-res orientation in there, someone from BoMF had to suddenly give noisy chase to a would be thief out the door and down an alley to (successfully) recover an iPhone stolen from an unwitting customer there. Mission accomplished in a perfectly imperfect BoMF way.

As the morning celebration wound down and before everyone tore into the coffee and donuts, and rummaged through some surplus running clothes donations, another perfectly imperfect BoMF moment occurred. It was time to circle up and Grandmaster Vic was ready to lead the closing Serenity prayer. Now, we have been known in the past to be joined in the circle by not only BoMFers, but sometimes by ducks, pigeons, buskers and assorted disheveled passersby who loiter on that particular corner of Boston Common. That morning though, as Vic started the prayer, a poor, ragged and clearly disturbed woman chomping on a cigarillo crashed through to the center of the circle and stood in the middle and started ranting quite loudly and incoherently about David and King Solomon. Vic calmly gave her the floor for a few seconds and then said loudly, “Who brought us here today?”

We then adjourned to the refreshments and offered our friend and some other folks hanging around the corner some food and surplus clothes. That quieted things down a bit making it a perfectly imperfect ending to a perfectly wonderful morning.

It’s our BIRTHDAY!

We have had an incredible year and can’t thank all of our supporters enough. There are so many people who have helped make this year so successful and we are grateful for every single one of you.

Thank you to all of our partner facilities HVAF of Indiana, Progress House, Resident Members, Core team members, Non-res runners, FundRacers, Volunteers at races, Corporate supporters and anyone else who has been involved in nurturing and growing this amazing chapter.

Purchase tickets for our upcoming Birthday Luncheon!

2012 in a nutshell:

  • 3 Partner Facilities
  • 45 active resident members
  • 3 active alumni members
  • 80 volunteers
  • 77 members served since March 8, 2011
  • 49 members who have completed a competitive race
  • 13 members who have completed a half-marathon
  • 3 members who have completed a full-marathon
  • 8 members who have obtained housing
  • 25 members are currently employed
  • 56 members have enrolled in financial literacy, job training programs or schooling
  • 83% of members in Next Steps

Check out the year in pictures:

Our first circle as a team- at the first of many BlueMile shoe fittings! Thank you BlueMile for being such an amazing supporter.

Members from team HVAF Warman at the launch luncheon at JW Marriott.

White Lodging helping us get our chapter started! Thank You!

Heading to the start line of our first race!

Ron, Sandy & Phyllis finishing up our first 5K with BoMF Indy.

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On July 1, 2011, Back on My Feet will be celebrating our 4th birthday! In honor of this occasion, we have partnered with Krispy Kreme. As part of the celebration, they will be giving us a doughnut birthday cake and offering a $2 donation to BoMF with every purchase of a dozen glazed doughnuts!

This offer is valid at the Center City Krispy Kreme, which is located at 16th & Chestnut St. Hurry, this voucher expires on July 8, 2011. Head over to Krispy Kreme today and redeem your voucher.

The Boston chapter of Back on My Feet celebrated our first birthday official on May 24. Since then, we’ve had an array of birthday-themed activities keeping the celebratory spirit high, with the big she-bang at the John Hancock BoMF First Birthday Breakfast on June 13.

More than 400 friends of Back on My Feet streamed into the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel that morning to celebrate a year of lives changed by Back on My Feet in Boston.

Speakers included Jim Boyle, President of John Hancock, our generous title sponsor; Anne Mahlum, BoMF Founder and President; and Steve Karagiozis, a Back on My Feet member who shared his inspiring experiences with BoMF over the past year. The Birthday Breakfast was a time to look back on all of BoMF’s accomplishments and thank the very important people who made it all possible.

In just one year, Back on My Feet Boston teams have covered close to 9,000 miles. Our amazing volunteers have contributed over 5,500 hours. Over 100 shelter residents have been served through the program. Seventeen have attained permanent housing, 45 have received job training, and another 18 have obtained employment. Of course, none of this would have happened without the incredible generosity of our sponsors and the passion of our volunteers.

Back on My Feet also honored our incredible Team Leaders, many of whom have been leading their teams since we launched in Boston last year: Betty Yung at Hope House, Gael Henville at the New England Center for Homeless Veterans, Daniella Piccirilli at Father Bill’s Place, Matt Kennis at Boston Rescue Mission, Jess Rochlin at Boston Rescue Mission, Lauri McBurney at St. Francis House and Sara Raiken at Somerville Homeless Coalition. This is no small feat, as these runners have shaped each team into the family they are today and are truly the heart and soul of BoMF Boston.

Thank you of course to John Hancock and all of the other corporate sponsors who make Back on My Feet Boston possible, including Marriott, Richards Barry Joyce & Partners, Comcast, Comcast SportsNet and so many more.

It was a morning of celebration and of inspiration. But don’t just take our word for it. Have a look at the thoughts of some of our volunteers who attended the event: Tina from Carrots ‘N’ Cake and Martin from CheekyRunning.

Happy Birthday, Back on My Feet Boston! Be sure to check out the video to see a little bit of what we’ve been up to during the past year in Boston!

This week Back on My Feet Boston has been celebrating our first birthday in Beantown. On Monday, all six BoMF teams assembled together for the very first time on the Boston Common to retrace the footsteps of the inaugural three teams’ first run on May 24, 2010. We’ve come a long way since Boston Rescue Mission, Hope House and St. Francis House members took those first tentative steps together. We’ve had our challenges and our triumphs. I’ve asked the Boston Executive Director, Vic Acosta, to share his thoughts with the BoMF community on our past year in Boston. The following is what Vic has to say.

Boston's inaugural run starting from the Boston Common on May 24, 2010

One year ago it was a fervent hope by everyone involved.  Back on My Feet had come to Boston and its success was based on faith by our community.  The program Anne Mahlum created and was changing lives in other cities was now in our city and it was now in our hands steady and unwise as they were.  The faith was immediate and unconditional: 300 volunteers and a funding level by our business community unprecedented in the programs history.  With that hope came the unconditional and unprecedented need to help our homeless.

One year later the teams have covered close to 9,000 miles and volunteers have contributed over 5,500 hours.  Over 100 shelter residents have been served, with 16 attaining permanent housing and another 18 obtaining employment.  Others have returned to their families and reconnected with loved ones and found their own fortunes.  And some have relapsed, returning to the cycle, and the road they must take.  There have been 9,000 miles and as many reasons for tears of all sorts.  Hundreds of hour of job training and education have been completed and perhaps even more important, thousands of hours in which people began to understand each other and themselves.  In so short a time we have doubled the number of teams and access to people we wish to help but we have also felt that to embrace greater numbers requires exponentially more love and compassion and resources.  The numbers tell a story but perhaps the greater wisdom is that in our first year we have learned what help looks like.

We have been blessed to see our Jackie Kenyon become a team captain, then a case manager at a partner shelter, and now perhaps a national spokesperson and advocate for the dignity and services our homeless need.  We have been guided by Stephen Karagiozis in his quest to not only reestablish his dignity but teach BoMF how to help others regain theirs.  We’ve felt Jeff Bowditch’s struggle with running through pain and his need to belong to a program that has brought him college education and a chance for him to support his own family.  And we’ve also been humbled by the loss of teammates and overjoyed by their return or desire to.  If there is a statistic that means anything it is that 100% of shelter residents who relapse or have had to leave their facility have reached out to Back on My Feet with the hopes of returning somehow someway.

Recently we met with an area expert with 25 years of experience with almost every aspect of homelessness in Boston.  In a matter of a few words he was able to identify what we have spent a year trying to define, describe, and share.  In a way it could be defined by a time: 5 a.m.

Five a.m. is what Back on My Feet defends and restores.  It is the singular crucible that enables our homeless to be other than what our city and culture define them.  Five a.m. is the purpose of employment partners, service providers, educational opportunities and all other aspects of the service nature of Back on My Feet.  It is the option and wall that counters the empty hours created by getting bedded down at oh so early hours in a shelter.  It can be said that 5 a.m. is natural to two populations: the homeless and runners.  It was at such hours that Anne saw the need and opportunity.  And it is at such a time that our homeless are awake and awaiting the gray day.  Back on My Feet embraces and colors the day at 5 a.m.

So, after a year help looks like this: Every opportunity and measure of wisdom our Advisory Board provides; every possible assistance our shelter directors can give; every dollar; every job training session, race bib, running shirt afforded to our people; every tireless hour our Team Leaders put in; every heartbreak and joy is to give 5 a.m. meaning and hope.

At 5 a.m. a runner in Boston puts on their shoes and the road goes on forever.  At one we have become a community of serenity and acceptance.  Happy Birthday, Boston.

Happy 2nd birthday, Back On my Feet Baltimore! March was a big month for Christopher’s Place and the entire Baltimore chapter, as we celebrated our birthday week, ran a 5k race, and ran a half marathon!  March events also included the first Game Night, hosted by CP and attended by CP and team MCVET. Read more…

ARW celebrated their 1st birthday in March. Please see our post to commemorate this milestone!

RESIDENTIAL MEMBER OF THE MONTH: KEVIN A.

Kevin A. (far right), Member of the Month

Member since: August 2010

What has been your best BoMF moment?: When I see my teammates laughing, having fun and meeting for breakfast.

What is your biggest challenge with running?: Getting up!

What are your goals for the next three months?: Baltimore 10-miler.

What do you think about when you’re running?: ‘Lord, give me strength’ and pleasant thoughts.

What was your last race, and how did you do?: I ran the Nikia Nippy Nor’easter Relay.

What’s your favorite post-race meal?: Bagels.

What advice do you have for a beginning runner?: Stick with it, it’s a healthy way to live!

“Kevin’s big, bright smiles comes right from his heart, encouraging happiness within his teammates. He is dedicated in running and in life and refuses to let obstacles stand in his way of accomplishing anything he strives for.” – Carrie Daniels, team leader

NON-RESIDENTIAL MEMBERS OF THE MONTH: BONNIE AND TYLER S.

Bonnie (left) and Tyler (middle), Members of the Month

Shoe size: Bonnie, 8.5; Tyler, 13

Member since: March 2010, start of team ARW

What has been your best BoMF moment?: Bonnie – Finishing with Joe in his first 5k was my favorite moment. Tyler -  Listening to Darius’s speech at the non residential appreciation breakfast at the Marriott last fall.

What is your biggest challenge with running?: Bonnie – Balancing school work with running goals.  Tyler – Motivating myself to run on poor weather days or days when I don’t feel like running.

What are your goals for the next 3 months?: Bonnie – To just keep having fun with running. Tyler – My goals are to run a 5k under 20 minutes and a half marathon under 1:40.

What do you think about when you’re running?: Bonnie – I don’t think about a lot when I’m running because I’m usually talking to friends running with me. Tyler – I’m either singing a song with my breathing cadence, trying to calculate my pace, or just zoning out.

What was your last race, and how did you do?: Bonnie – Kelly’s St. Patrick’s 5k . I had fun, but did not meet my goal so I came away from it knowing I need to improve. Tyler – D.C. National Half Marathon – Finished about 3 minutes from my goal, but felt good throughout the race and my time was a personal best, so I was happy with the run.

What’s your favorite post-race meal?: Bonnie – Whole wheat bagel with peanut butter. Tyler – Sausage egg and cheese bagel, or a pineapple fruit cup – they gave those out after the D.C. Half and I had more than my share.

What advice do you have for a beginning runner?: Bonnie – iI you want to stick with it, find a way to make running fun and not just exercise. Tyler – Talk to qualified people to get you in the right shoes. This can be the difference between fun and misery.

“One of the strongest teams I know, Bonnie and Tyler are always willing to run with anyone – slow or fast. The dedication, respect and love they show to each other translates into a bond the entire team can draw inspiration from.” – Carrie Daniels, team leader

As February came to an end, we all knew March would be a busy month for Back on My Feet Baltimore and Team MCVET, but we never expected just how much it would bring in addition to all the races and birthday celebrations on the calendar!

As the month began, several of our residential members celebrated milestones in their lives including Jeff W, Arnold S and John T who all found new jobs.  Jeff started driving trucks for Gunther Transportation and moved out of MCVET and into his own apartment. His new schedule keeps him on the road most of the time, but he’s been quick to make it out for all the runs when he’s back in town, and he still has his eyes set on the Delaware Marathon in May.  (Apparently it’s 34 laps around an eighteen-wheeler to a mile!)  Arnold meanwhile found two part-time positions to complement his full time school commitment and transitioned into SRO at MCVET, joining MCVET’s growing alumni ranks in the process.  John T has also taken advantage of his CDL to find employment, taking a job driving for Dillon’s Bus Service. Congratulations and best of luck to all our members as they take these big steps forward in their lives.

In addition to celebrating these individuals’ accomplishments, the team has also come together this month for two races including the Shamrock 5k and the Nikia’s Nippy Nor’easter Half Marathon and Relay where we were strongly represented on both courses by res, non-res and alumni members alike. Special congrats are in order for MCVET team members Dave F, who was the overall winner of the half marathon event, and “Saturday” Steve, Mitch G and Greg S, whose Team Born to Run won the relay event.

Even with all the racing and marathon training going on, the team made sure to find time this month to relax as well, meeting up with Team CP on a Friday evening to kick back and enjoy a night of good food and games including Wii bowling and Cranium. Special thanks to Christopher’s Place for hosting us and to our new social coordinator, Maria D, for helping to organize both that event and all the other festivities this month.

Those festivities included BoMF Baltimore’s second anniversary celebration which, as one of this chapter’s original teams, marked an especially important moment for Team MCVET.  All of Baltimore’s teams circled up together outside MCVET on the morning of  the 16th to commemorate the very first time we came together to run as a city and as a chapter two years ago. Several of our team members were recognized for their continuous involvement since that day.  Among them were alumni members Terrell S and Arnold S, in addition to non-res members Theresa, Maya, Jill, Jenn S, Maria D, Sean F, and Kate G.  The birthday celebrations provided a really great opportunity for each of us to think and reflect over all the moments and accomplishments we have been able to share together as a team.  It has really been a tremendous experience for all of us these past two years and we are looking forward to what year three has in store for us.

Team MCVET

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THUMB welcomed three new residential members to our team again!  Tony M., Brian L. and Tom C. were added to an already large and strong team.

This was another month of milestones.  Donnell M. reached a big milestone when he hit 250 miles with the team.  Reggie H and Michael B. reached 100 miles.  Brian L. reached 5 miles while Tony M. and Tom C. reached 10 miles in their first month on the team.  Domonic received his medal for running 5 consecutive miles and he reached 10 and 25 miles.  Chris C. reached 175 miles.   Steven W. reached 10 and 25 miles.  Michael W. reached 10 miles with the team.

We are very excited that another one of our teammates, Mike P., celebrated two years of sobriety this month!  Mike continues to stay in touch with the team and it always great when we get to see him!

The team participated in two races this month, the Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5k and the Nikia Nippy Nor’easter Half Marathon & Relay.  On Sunday, March 13, 2011,  THUMB had ten res members run the Kelly St. Patrick’s Day 5k.  It was a fast race and there were a few PR’s set by the guys!  Jamie W. ran his first race in 23:49.  Reggie H. ran 29:16, Andrew F. ran 29:12, Barry B. ran 27:10, Chris C. ran 24:22, Mike B. ran 23:09, Donnell M. ran 24:24, John L. ran 24:10, Moses J. ran 23:49 and Mike H. ran 20:06.  There were also several non-res runners and supporters in the crowd.  The weather was beautiful and it was a great day!  On Saturday, March 19, 2011,  the team participated in the 2nd annual Nikia Nippy Nor’easter Half Marathon and Relay.  The field had doubled to 200 runners and it was a fun event for all runners and supporters who were there to cheer on their friends, families and teammates!  The weather was great and the runners looked strong.  Donnell M. ran his first half marathon in 2:04:45, Zach R. ran 3:07:05 , Chris C. ran 2:17:43, Barry B. ran 2:02:58.  Teammates who ran the relay included Steven W., Domonic R., Michael B., and Michael W.

On Wednesday, March 16, 2011 Back on My Feet Baltimore celebrated it’s second birthday!  The morning was quite a celebration with over 100 of our teammates gathering at MCVET for opening circle. We ran a 2 mile route over to the MAC in Harbor East and finished with cupcakes and cookies.  On Friday, March 18, 2011, BoMF Baltimore continued it’s birthday celebration with a party at Christopher’s Place that night.  There were lots of goodies and teammates had the chance to make their own BoMF shirt!  It was a fun night for everyone.  Also to help celebrate our second birthday, many of our teammates took advantage of free workouts at the MAC all week long.

So now that the Nikia Nippy Nor’easter Half Marathon and Relay is behind us, the focus turns to the Delaware Marathon.  There are less than two months until the big race and training is going well for all of our teammates who are participating.

THUMB team picture at the Kelly 5k

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March 3rd brought about not only 12 months, but recognition of countless memories at ARW.  Instead of the monthly write up, this is a small snippet of what ARW has been about over the last twelve months.

Team ARW running the Valentine's 5k

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