News / Health

    Running Group Helps Homeless Get Back on Their Feet

    The morning routine includes being welcomed to the running circle by a greeting, a hug and a smile
    The morning routine includes being welcomed to the running circle by a greeting, a hug and a smile

    Multimedia

    Back on my Feet is a non-profit organization that works with people living in homeless shelters -- many addicted to drugs and alcohol.  The group sponsors run near the shelters to help those in need improve their health and self esteem.  Back on my Feet has branches in several cities in the United States

    Participants reclaim their life

    Nick Finnigan says he is happier and healthier since he started running with Back on my Feet six months ago.  His life had spiraled out of control because of drug and alcohol addiction that began when he was 16.  His substance abuse cost him his marriage and he’s not been able to hold a job during the past several years.

    “I think, I’ll never stop thinking about the drugs.  But I just know I can’t go back to that and that’s not what I want. I have 2 kids out there.  I haven’t been involved in their lives and I want to be involved in their lives,” Finnigan explains.

    The 33-year-old is now living in a homeless shelter called Clean and Sober Streets that offers drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs.  Finnigan joins others from the shelter, along with Back on My Feet staff and volunteers, for early morning runs several times each week. He says running with Back on My Feet is helping him get his life back on track.

    Frances Thunder, a Back on my Feet volunteer, says no one runs alone. “There’s always somebody running with you to talk over what’s going on in your day, your week, what your struggles are,” she notes.

    Organization empowers participants, lift self-esteem

    Gretchen Gates, Program Director for Back on My Feet in Washington, says running gives the homeless a sense of accomplishment. “You come to the circle in the morning and you’re greeted with a hug and a smile,” she says, “and you’re a member of Back on Your Feet and that’s the biggest thing we can give people.”

    Dena Cooper hopes running with Back on My Feet will help her overcome a drug habit.  She made a good living, she says, until drug addiction took over her life.  She briefly sought help at Clean and Sober Streets last year, but left to go back to a life that almost destroyed her.

    “I felt alone and really lonely,” she says. “And I went back to my comfort zone, and my comfort zone was my friend[s] who get high and that is what I ended up doing.”

    Cooper hopes this time will be different, and says running helps her release stress. She is grateful for the help she is getting and would like to begin a new career helping other women who have hit bottom.  

    Finnigan says it is his goal to get a job and have a place of his own. He says he is determined to stay away from drugs and alcohol and follow his dreams.

    Thanks to Clean and Sober Streets and Back on My Feet he sees a better life at the end of his struggle.

    You May Like

    Clinton, Trump and the 'Woman’s Card'

    Ask supporters of Democratic front-runner in US presidential campaign, and they’ll tell you Republican presidential candidate is playing a dangerous hand

    Russian Censorship Group Seeks Chinese Help to Better Control Internet

    At recent Safe Internet League forum in Moscow, speakers from both nations underscored desire for authorities to further limit and control information online

    Video Makeshift Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Free classes in Islamabad park serve a few of the country’s nearly 25 million out-of-school youths; NGO cites ‘education crisis’

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora