Thursday, June 11, 2009

Back On My Feet is the new safe word

Last weekend I did an 8K run with my mom and a couple of my uncles. While we were there, I noticed a large group of people sporting brightly colored shirts with the logo Back On My Feet prominently displayed across the chest. Last year or so I had read an article about this group who, as their Web site states, promote the self-sufficiency of the homeless population by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.

Meaning, four days a week at 5:30 in the morning a dedicated group of volunteers go running with men and women currently situated in various homeless shelters throughout Philadelphia. When I read about them last year, I was totally into it. And then I got to the 5:30 in the morning part and I was all does not compute do not understand system shut down. And I promptly filed it in my Never Gonna Happen File, because I'm not saying that I'm lazy, but I'm not NOT saying that I'm lazy.

I had been running into groups at various races for the past few years, but for some reason this time, something really clicked. And when I saw them in their colorful shirts standing in their circle with their arms draped across each other's shoulders saying their serenity prayer I was all HECK YEA I want to be in that circle and I want to commit and I want to change lives and I want to be a part of this. So I signed up.

And then at my orientation yesterday morning I got all heck-yea-uppity again, and now do you know what that means? It MEANS I'll be dragging myself out of bed every Monday and Wednesday at 4:50 in the morning so I can drive to my shelter to go on a seven-mile run at 5:30 in the morning with a group of volunteers and the committed men and women they've dedicated their mornings to. And I am SO excited. It's all I can talk about. And also I'm terrified because commitment makes me nervous and 4:50 in the morning is the next closest thing to Chinese water torture in my mind. The only time I've ever seen 4:50 a.m. is when I haven't gone to bed the night before and I'm probably rolling around in my underwear on your front lawn. True story.

So B's been on vacation in Massachusetts this week and every time he calls I'm all "and did I tell you it started because this woman would run past this homeless shelter every morning and then one day she invited a few of them men to run with her?" And he's all "yes you did," and them I'm all "and then did I tell you that it changed their lives and now they have HOMES and JOBS and SKILLS?" And he's all "yeah you told me that too, it really is amazing," and I'm like "but did you know that statistically speaking if you can get a group to commit to just going on a run four times a week the rates of job and housing retention go, like, WAY up?" and he's like "yup" so now I've just stopped answering my phone when B calls because I'm too busy telling Rooney how important this organization is.

In completely unrelated news, my boss walked into my office this morning and was all "I'm gonna rip that band aid off your neck, I'm tired of looking at it," and I was all "BACK OFF OR I'LL STAB A PEN THROUGH YOUR JUGULAR TOO," and he's all "no one stabbed you with a pen, it was a mole, and how long do you have to keep that on anyway?" And I was all, "SEXUAL HARASSMENT" because did you know that's the office safe word? Everyone stops what they're doing once you start yelling that. It's just like yelling rhinoceros during sex.

And now I hope no one from Back On My Feet finds this blog post today because I don't know how they'd feel having their organization associated with the same stream of consciousness that came up with rhinoceros as a safe word. But everyone needs one. That's just common sense, people.


Anonymous said...

Oh wow. That's a fantastic idea! Go you. I'm going to pretend to know for sure that we don't have anything like that here so I don't have to get out of bed at 4:50 in the am. You get major props for it though.

Anonymous said...

haha, oh man, 5:00!? that's nuts...i'm so glad you're the one doing this so i can say i'm kinda doing it by proxy. just in case someone asks. but yeah, major major props.

Salut! chou chou said...

Kudos to you hunny! You're amazing for doing this sort of thing and trust me, you'll be inspiration to another person just like you. It's going to be great!

KLaw said...

Awesome idea! I'd rather eat bulls testicles than run for long distances, but more power to you!

And BTW, you're hoo-larious!

Lora said...

Good for you! I love that program, and I love that other people aren't as lazy as I am so it actually works!

BillFoxeveryone said...

I heard commitment makes your nervous, i heard thats why you are getting married.

rory said...

Whoa. So, let me get this straight.
You've lost your job, your house, your car, your wife, and you check into a homeless shelter thinking that things can't possibly get any worse and then they tell you you've got to get up at 5:30 in the morning and run 7 miles?
Philly is one tough town.

Shelley Greenberg said...

TOO IRONIC. We just started working with a homeless shelter in Jamaica Plain that has a very similar program, a running club for homeless men in recovery. We tried pitching it to CNN and they said, good story but we just did one EXACTLY LIKE THAT in PHILADELPHIA. We were like, MAN! What are the chances of there being ANOTHER running club for the homeless.

Anyways, GOOD FOR YOU. Working with the homeless, even in the indirect way I do, just feels so good. Plus hey, there's your workout! Awesome.

RuthWells said...

Holy mother of gad. 5:30am? Running? Nofrockinway. I am VERY impressed.

Jessica Cantlin McArdle said...

Hey Bridget, your blog is cool. just wanted to let you know that Maureen O'Toole from my class at Merion has something to do with "Back on my Feet". I have seen her facebook posts about it. You should get intouch with her!


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