"Back On My Feet" Gets People Up And Heading In The Right Direct

"Back On My Feet" Gets People Up And Heading In The Right Direction

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PHILADELPHIA -

"Back On My Feet" is a national charity with a very unique mission. It was started here in Philadelphia and is true to its name, helping the homeless get back on their feet, through running.

"I've been in a shelter for 364 days. What led me to be homeless was I had a stroke some years back, I became unemployed and thing started getting rough from there."

Really rough. Smart, educated, Brenda Morrow wound up at the women's shelter, "House of Passage."

"I was at the point like leave me alone. I didn't want to talk to anybody you know, went into depression," said Morrow.

Until, she saw a group of runners going out very early in the morning. It turned out a lot of them were homeless just like Brenda, and that's when she decided "I'm in."

Morrow explains, "getting up at 5:00 a.m. in the morning and running at 5:30 a.m. in 22 degrees, it helps me focus my strength for the day."

"Running and homelessness, a lot of people scratch their heads and say hey that doesn't fit," says Scott Crossin, Executive Director of Back On My Feet

But Scott Crossin says it's a really good fit for people who've lost their homes, who've lost hope and need help getting back on their feet.

"Running is a means to that end; running is a vehicle that we use to help build that strength, that self-confidence, a sense of goal setting, a sense of community and a sense of support that helps people move forward."

"Once you get out there and start running in the air, it's like you are laughing, you're talking to people, they're hugging you, greeting you and say what you gonna do today," explains Morrow.

Back On My Feet partners with six homeless shelters in Philadelphia's center city.

 The organization, with the help of its many volunteers, introduces a running program to the folks staying at the shelters. Teams of runners meet bright and early every Monday Wednesday and Friday, experience all the physical and emotional benefits of running.

Scott adds, "We have folks who honestly their goal on their first day is to walk ten blocks and that's an important goal for them and then they build on that."

"Running, it yeah, it saved me from really being out there in the street. It brought back a part of me I forgot" says Morrow.

Back On My Feet doesn't want its members to view themselves as homeless. It wants them to see themselves as runners, friends, and teammates on a road to a better future." 

She continues, "They helped me reassure myself that I'm still somebody."

Runners who have been in the program for 30 days with 90% attendance move to the next steps phase.  They have access to educational and job training opportunities and can qualify for financial assistance to find housing.

"I redid my resume. They helped me with the cover letter showed me different things," says Morrow.

Back On My Feet helps its members go the distance, but they take it one step at a time.

Robert Butler, Back on My Feet member says, "I'm nowhere near where I am supposed to be, but I am way far from where I was."

Robert Butler didn't want to go into details, but has gone from living in a shelter to living in his own apartment. He has a part-time job and is looking for full-time work, all thanks to back on my feet.

 He says, "It played a major part, for one thing it got me in a transition to independent living."

Back On My Feet offers a positive environment, where, with some help and hard work, amazing and wonderful things can happen.

"I keep saying to them, I can see a little light and it's getting brighter, yeah at the end of tunnel."

"They're there for you when you need them no matter what it is, they're right there," adds Morrow.

Back On My Feet was founded in Philadelphia but has chapters in 11 cities.

 

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