Back on My Feet (BoMF) is a national, for-purpose 501(c)3 organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change that results in employment and independent living.
Running & Community
Running offers many strong and powerful lessons for life. Running teaches us: to take things one step at a time; that you can’t cheat life - you have to run miles one through nine to get to 10; when facing an uphill challenge we can persevere or take the easy way and turn around. The lesson we love the most is that if we keep moving forward, we arrive some place different, we arrive stronger and often as better versions of ourselves.
Back on My Feet’s approach focuses on the very profound and innate desire for all of us to feel recognized, appreciated and supported. BoMF is an encouraging community where challenges are overcome, goals are exceeded and finish lines are crossed. Members have an opportunity to redefine themselves not as homeless, but as hardworking and dedicated runners, friends and teammates. Our program helps Members change the way they see themselves by improving confidence and self-esteem, and helping them feel hopeful about their futures.
Training, Employment & Housing
Once Members start to change their personal perceptions, Back on My Feet prepares them for independence. Residential Members work with BoMF staff to build a road map toward self-sufficiency which includes financial literacy and skill-building classes with for-profit and nonprofit partners. After training, Members have access to interview and employment opportunities with partners including Marriott and White Lodging. Members are also offered financial assistance to overcome barriers to self-sufficiency such as a security deposit for more permanent housing.
How it Works
Facility Partnerships & Member Introductions
Back on My Feet partners with local facilities (emergency shelter, mission, halfway house, etc.) and holds orientation sessions to introduce the program to residents. To join, residents must have lived at the facility for at least 30 days. Residential Members joining the program complete a dedication contract, goals sheet and evaluation survey. Running teams consisting of Residential Members (those experiencing homelessness) and Non-Residential Members (community volunteers) are formed at each facility.
All teams run on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 5:30 a.m., with longer, optional runs on Saturdays for those training for half marathons, full marathons or more. Members attend monthly social events and local races. Attendance, mileage and attitude are tracked on every run. After 30 days in the program, each Residential Member who maintains 90% attendance at the morning runs moves to Back on My Feet’s “Next Steps” phase.
In the Next Steps phase of the program, Residential Members meet with BoMF Program staff to assess their current situation and develop a road map for an independent lifestyle. Members have access to educational and job training opportunities, and through dedication to the program, can apply for financial aid to help them move toward employment and more permanent housing. Members can use Back on My Feet’s financial aid to address barriers to self-sufficiency including outstanding fines, tools for a job, transportation, education, certifications and security deposits. On average, nearly 75 percent of Members are in the Next Steps phase of the program – a true testament to the efficacy and sustainability of the program.
Residential Members who achieve employment and housing become Alumni Members. Many often continue to run with their original teams, providing encouragement, support and motivation to teammates.
"A year ago, I would of called you crazy if you told me I would have a great job... and I would get it, because of running. But, it's true... Back on My Feet changed my life." - Mark, Back on My Feet Residential Member