As an avid sports enthusiast, I have always appreciated the difference in mood, attitude, concentration I feel between times of activity and times of sloth. I am a much nicer person when I exercise. This is why the idea behind Back on My Feet is so appealing to me. A simple idea, a great story and a big difference.
Anne Mahlum’s life was thrown into chaos at age 16 when she found her family torn apart by her father’s gambling addiction. As an escape she turned to running and found her own answers. She learned the value of taking things one step at a time and the lessons a difficult road could teach her.
10 years later, whilst out running, she passed a homeless shelter on 12th and Vine in Philadelphia. The individuals staying there reminded her of her father and she soon developed a friendly,if somewhat sarcastic rapport with them. It dawned on her that running could benefit others the way it had helped her, and vicariously she could help her father as well. BoMF was born with an official run on July 3rd, 2007.
BoMF uses running as a tool for those experiencing homelessness to alter their self perception and create real change that results in employment and independent living. Instead of giving food or shelter, BoMF “provides a community that embraces equality, respect, discipline, teamwork and leadership. All members – regardless of race, education or socioeconomic status – join together to move their own lives forward as well as the lives of their teammates.”
Six years after that first official run, BoMF is a $6.5 million nonprofit with 48 full-time staff and a 46 percent success rate. Yes, it has moved beyond just running, but even just the discipline of regular exercise, can benefit everyone in this hectic world of ours.