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Where are they now? A look back at our original 14 boys

June 7, 2019 by Let Me Run National

As a mother of two boys, Ashley Armistead saw the need for a program for boys that allowed them to utilize the power of running to express themselves and develop a stronger sense of their own social, emotional, and physical health. She could no longer watch her boys or other boys alike be confined to the “boy code” that she had become familiar with throughout her experiences raising her sons. “From the ball fields to the office, limiting messages are being sent to males. You’ve heard them: grow up, be a man, suck it up, boys don’t cry, don’t be a sissy, stop being a girl, and always be in control,” Ashley explains. Phrases like these have been used to confine boys and men into a narrow definition of masculinity that does not allow for them to be their true, authentic selves. So, in 2009, thanks to 14 boys, a willing elementary school, and passionate volunteers, Let Me Run was born. 

This year, Let Me Run is celebrating its 10 year anniversary. As we reflect back on all the things that have made this organization successful, one thing we want to recognize is the first team from Beverly Woods Elementary and their willingness to pilot our first-ever Let Me Run program. We checked in with some of these boys to see where they are now and how Let Me Run helped them become the successful young men they are today.

 

Sean C.
21 years old
Attending The University of North Carolina at Wilmington
Majoring in Marine Biology and Psychology

“My brothers and I were part of the first group of Let Me Run and it served as a great bonding experience for us. Let Me Run also gave me the opportunity to coach some guys when I was a freshman in high school; which was a very enjoyable and developmental experience for me.”

Connor A.
19 years old
Attending The University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Majoring in Philosophy and Religious Studies

The most valuable thing I learned from Let Me Run was a better understanding of myself. Understanding that I do not need to fit any stereotypes has allowed me be myself. Every single person is different, and everyone shouldn’t be trying to fit a certain mold.”

Harrison C.
21 years old
Attending Appalachian State University
Double Majoring in Risk Management & Insurance / Finance & Banking
Minoring in International Business

“I was a part of Let Me Run both as a member and assistant coach. When I was a member, I learned why it is so important to be a team player. Being a team player helps build stronger bonds and makes everyone perform to their best ability. When I was an assistant coach, I was then able to help share the information that I learned in 5th grade with a younger age group. When I was on the other side as a coach, I was able to see the friendships that were being built, and the confidence that each boy gained over the season.”

Grant A.
21 years old         
Attending The University of Alabama     
Majoring in Criminal Justice and Cybercrime

“Then, as a 5th grader your mind doesn’t really soak in all of what they are trying to instill in you, but now I look back on the core values of Let Me Run (courageous to be who you are, push yourself to be fit in the mind, body, and spirit, be a loyal friend and encourage, trust in your team who surrounds you to take you to new heights, be honest with yourself and others, and don’t ever settle for the easy solution push, yourself to get out of your comfort level) to go through my daily life and strive to be the best that I can be.”

Spencer D.
20 years old
Attending Appalachian State University
Majoring Risk Management and Insurance

“I think that being a Let Me Run boy means you are someone who has learned and been disciplined to develop/enhance good characteristics that can remain lifelong. I also think that it means that you have learned about the benefits of maintaining a physically healthy lifestyle and established habits to maintain this.”

 

In the past 10 years, Let Me Run has grown from 14 boys, in one city, at one elementary school to having served over 24,500 boys, across 30 states, in over 500 elementary and middle schools. The impact of our program is clear and has helped boys all across the country develop into their true selves. We can’t wait to see what the next 10 years has in store.

Want to get involved? Volunteer as a coach or register your son at LetMeRun.org.

 

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