August 10, 2018 by Let Me Run National
Let Me Run is a nonprofit wellness program for boys that applies the power of running and a comprehensive curriculum to develop boys’ emotional, social, and physical health. Let Me Run is proud to announce the hire of new staff as the program continues to grow across the country.
Since beginning in Charlotte in 2009, Let Me Run has reached over 20,000 boys across 29 states and counting. After the program piloted in Chicago in 2012, Let Me Run has served over 575 boys across 21 schools in the region. Mary Connolly will oversee the region and its continued growth as Let Me Run Chicago Metro Regional Director. To her new role, Mary brings over 20 years of experience in the nonprofit sector, fundraising, managing special events, and marketing.
Mary says, “I only have one child, a daughter, so empowering women and girls was always an important issue for me. After my husband, her father, died by suicide in 2014, I realized that if we don’t do something to also help boys, our girls are not getting the fathers, partners, and friends they deserve. I am also a runner, and I know all the positive effects running has had on my own mental health.”
Mark McWilliams also believes in the importance of supporting our boys’ health and wellness, saying, “Let Me Run is impacting lives in a big and meaningful way. I've experienced it as a coach for 6 seasons and as a father of a LMR boy. I couldn't be more proud to be part of a group of people who shares the same passion and purpose to impact and equip our young boys.”
Mark showed his passion in 2013, when he drove to St. Louis to train as a coach to start the first Let Me Run team in Kansas City. Since then, Kansas City has reached 700 boys across 27 schools. Mark has also served on the initial Kansas City Advisory Council and is in the process of fundraising for Let Me Run as a 2018 TCS New York City Marathon Charity Runner. In his new role on staff as Kansas City Program Coordinator, Mark will work with Heidi McCormick, Kansas City’s Regional Director, to continue to support and expand the region.
Bob Osner-Hackett also served on his region’s first Advisory Council for over a year, before moving to his role as Kalamazoo Program Coordinator in 2017, working with Regional Director Mandy Damico and bringing over 15 years of experience as an educator to his position. This year, Mandy will be moving to Ireland with her family, and we’re sad to see her go, but excited to promote Bob to Kalamazoo Regional Director.
Bob believes in the transformative power of the LMR program. “As a teacher, one of the goals of my life has been to help others reach beyond what they believe they can achieve. I originally joined the Let Me Run team as a volunteer to be involved with the school and community. I have stayed with Let Me Run because it is an amazing organization that gives boys a chance to flourish in a setting that allows them to truly be themselves. I believe in the program and have seen firsthand the positive impact it has on the lives of the boys in our community.”
Let Me Run Kalamazoo has served over 885 boys at 30 schools since the program piloted in the region in 2014, and with Bob the region is poised for more growth.
Last year, Let Me Run also expanded into a new state — California. Sheetal Shah brought the Let Me Run program to San Jose.
Sheetal says, “When my 7 year old son came home and asked me why only girls could run (We had GOTR at our school but no boys program), I knew I had to do something. Several hours of googling later, I discovered Let Me Run. I knew I had to bring it to California. It took me 2 years and traveling to New Jersey to be trained, but made it happen in the spring of 2017. I know firsthand, through my own children, how gender stereotypes negatively affect both boys and girls and wanted to have a positive impact to influence this. I stay with LMR because I can see first hand the positive impact this program has on boys and our community.”
Sheetal served as regional liaison for one year, and now joins the Let Me Run staff as San Jose Regional Director. Since 2017, San Jose has served over 100 boys across 7 schools.
With a growing staff force across the country, Let Me Run plans to reach 40,000 boys by 2020. With a national growth rate of over 50% year after year, the need is obvious for Let Me Run, a program that supports boys’ emotional, social and physical health. Join the movement — register, coach, donate — at LetMeRun.org