How a morning run can be the first step out of homelessness

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NewsHour shares web small logoIn our NewsHour Shares series, we show you things that caught our eye recently on the web. What about you? Leave your suggestions in the comments below, or tweet to @NewsHour using #NewsHourShares. We might share it on air.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight, to our “NewsHour” Shares, something that caught our eye that might be of interest to you, too.

The organization Back on My Feet uses running as a catalyst to combat homelessness. The group operates in 12 cities across the nation, including Boston, where Cristina Quinn from PBS station WGBH paid them a visit.

CRISTINA QUINN: It’s 5:30 a.m. It’s dark and it’s cold. But none of that has discouraged this group from meeting up for their morning run.

This is Team Hope. They meet up every three times a week outside of the Hope House Rehab Center in Roxbury. The group is made up of guys from various homeless shelters and recovery programs around Boston.

The whole idea is that these morning runs will change their lives. That’s the core mission of the organization Back on My Feet, using running as a catalyst to move people out of homelessness and into jobs.

And, as executive director, Theresa Lynn, puts it, showing up for these runs is just the beginning of charting a new course.

THERESA LYNN, Executive Director, Back on My Feet Boston: The first step obviously is running or walking with a team three days a week. You do that for a month, then you’re eligible for what we call the next steps, which is really where the program gets started. It’s employment training, access to job resources, access to housing resources, more gear, more running clothes. We co-create a plan with you.

CRISTINA QUINN: That includes counseling, updating skills, paying for exam books and certifications or finding an apartment.

It worked for Curt Ronan, a recovering addict who still runs with Hope House three days a week. He says the program has been transformative.

CURT RONAN, Team Leader, Back on My Feet: Running is part of my recovery, and I want to show that it does work.

CRISTINA QUINN: He’s been clean for three years, and, in that time, has run both the Boston Marathon and the New York City Marathon. The stakes are even higher now that he has a baby on the way.

Victor Rivera, just out of prison, is hoping the program can work the same magic for him. His teammates also say he’s the fastest runner.

VICTOR RIVERA, Member, Back on My Feet: I look forward to it every day we run, because it’s like we have stories that we that are either similar or things that we can actually relate to, and that actually helps me stay with the group.

CRISTINA QUINN: Rivera says the combination of community and routine are keeping him focused and on the right path. He’s now in a culinary arts program and is excited about the networking opportunities Back on My Feet provides.

You sound like you are definitely on the right track. Do you feel like you are on the right track?

VICTOR RIVERA: For the most part. You know, some days are better than others, but, for the most part, I feel like — I feel real confident about myself.

CRISTINA QUINN: For the “PBS NewsHour,” I’m Cristina Quinn in Boston.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Remember that, Back on My Feet.

The post How a morning run can be the first step out of homelessness appeared first on PBS NewsHour.