Back on My Feet members are individuals currently experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless. To join the program, members must be referred by one of our facility or referral partners. Members range in age from 18 to over 65. 35% of our members are veterans. 53% are African American, 31% Caucasian and 14% Hispanic. Some members have a college education, while others are working on their GED. Most of our members have families – over 60% have children – and we watch, time and time again, as Back on My Feet reunites them around something positive.
Back on My Feet looks beyond backgrounds and focuses on our shared human experiences—the innate desire to feel recognized and supported, the need for goals and a way to accomplish them. No matter our circumstances, Back on My Feet shows that something as seemingly simple as running can strengthen individuals, build communities and transform lives.
How It Works
Back on My Feet recruits members at homeless and residential facilities around the country and begins with a commitment to run three days a week in the early morning. After 30 days in the program, members with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources. Over 80% of individuals who start our program move into the Next Steps phase.
In Next Steps, members work with BoMF program staff to develop a personal road map to independence. Each member attends financial literacy classes and job skills training provided through partnerships with our corporate partners. Members can earn financial assistance to remove barriers to employment and housing such as work supplies, transportation and security deposits. Members who achieve employment and housing become Alumni Members. Within six months of becoming a Back on My Feet Alumnus, 90% of members maintain their employment, 60% receive a wage increase and 20% achieve a promotion.
"A year ago, I would [have] 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 Member
Why It Works
Running offers powerful lessons for life. It teaches us to take things one step at a time – that we have to run miles one through nine to get to 10. Running teaches us that perseverance leads to success. It teaches us that if we keep moving forward, we arrive some place different and often as stronger, better versions of ourselves. Running increases endorphins, inspires us to achieve new goals and offers us serenity and a sense of accomplishment when we need it most. Out there on the pavement, social status and backgrounds fade away. Everyone who runs with Back on My Feet is just that: a runner. And that alone is powerful.
Homelessness isolates individuals from the norms of everyday life and leaves them distanced from the community support most people rely on daily. Through running, Back on My Feet brings an unparalleled community to homelessness services. A team of Back on My Feet runners is made up of individuals experiencing homelessness alongside teachers, lawyers, public servants, consultants and the list goes on. These runners become running partners and friends. Back on My Feet members attest that these relationships help them regain a sense of normalcy and inspire hope for the future.
Employment & Housing
Running is the catalyst. Community is the missing link. Employment and housing are the endgame. As members gain confidence, strength and self-esteem, Back on My Feet ensures they have the skills and opportunities needed to move their lives forward. Members thrive in our workforce development program because they are fueled by our running program and supportive community. BoMF provides traditional skills training and offers members the unique opportunity to build a track record of hard work, dedication and discipline. These hard and soft skills translate to our hiring partners like Home Depot, Marriott and CVS.