I'm excited to share some big running MATES news—you can now start your own running MATES team! This season, running MATES will begin a transition to being a curriculum provider and training resource. To start a chapter, you need only be a parent of a child within our target group or a special needs professional. No hardcore running capability is needed! The time commitment is once a week for about 90 minutes. You can learn more about starting your own running MATES team at our website, www.runningmates.org.
Why the change? When I started running MATES, my son was 5 and went wherever I took him. Now, as a 10-year old, he has own opinions about the activities in which he participates. Luckily, he has a found a sport that suits him perfectly and he spends a lot of time doing it. A consequence of this success (and his 2 brothers’ active schedules) is that I can no longer coach a running MATES team.
At running MATES, our mission is to be a positive sports team experience and provide a foundation for physical fitness for children who have difficulty with social interaction and team sports. Running MATES has helped kids learn social skills and train for races, but it has also been an opportunity to enhance social interaction with other children, increase self-esteem and succeed in a mainstream sport. It’s been a pleasure to watch kids become more active, make friends and feel good about both. Our mission won’t change, but the hope is that I can pass the baton to other eager parents that can fill a need in their communities.