back on my feet – los angeles.

11 Nov

On October 28, 2013 Back on My Feet opened its 11th chapter nationwide, in my home of Los Angeles. For those of you who haven’t heard of Back on My Feet, it is a non-profit organization (or as the founder likes to call it, a “for purpose” organization) founded with the belief that it can help individuals living with homelessness get “back on their feet” through running.

I first heard about this organization through Ericka @ The Sweet Life and vowed to get involved if it ever came to LA. Fast forward a couple of years later, and I am perusing the Expo at the Long Beach Marathon with Katherine and lo and behold, there is a BOMF LA booth! I chatted up the guy and signed up to become more involved.

On the morning of October  28, I attended a launch breakfast at the JW Marriot in DTLA (my fav building, ever).

amazing place-setting.

amazing place-setting.

It was crazy-inspiring to get to hear BOMF founder, Anne Mahlum, speak.  She started BOMF in Philadelphia at 26 (!) and is really amazing. Here’s a TED talk which is VERY similar to the speech she gave at the breakfast.

And this inspiring video made me almost tear up 3 separate times.  Sorry I’m over using the word inspiring, but unless you find a good synonym its gonna stick.

Anyway — I went to an orientation a week later (also at the J-Dub…loooove) and I also got two of my DTLA Running Club friends, Kendra and Andres, to come too! We had an hour meeting where we met some of the LA staff, learned a little bit more about BOMF, and officially signed up.

BOMF LA has 5 locations:

We went out for our very next run the following day with our team — Homeboy Industries!

Homeboy is an incredible organization (and somewhat of an LA institution). It was founded by Father Greg Boyle in 1992 and has the mantra “Jobs Not Jails.”  Homeboy assists high-risk youth, former gang members, and individuals who just got out of jail with a variety of free programs — like mental health counseling, legal services, tattoo removal, curriculum and education classes, work-readiness training, and employment services.  They also have a bakery and diner at their DTLA/Chinatown location.  The individuals at Homeboy aren’t homeless — they all work at Homeboy Industries — so it is extra demanding for them to be there at 5:30 ready to run!

You may have even seen their chips and salsa at your local grocery store…

source: flickr

Another cool Homeboy fact: Homeboy Cafe and Bakery will be opening soon in the American Airlines terminal at LAX!

We meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 5:30 am for a short run.  We say hello and goodbye with a hug, and start and every run with the serenity prayer and the official BOMF cheer.

I have gone on three runs so far with the team and am really liking it so far. Getting up when it’s still super dark is rough, but it is so great for so many reasons. I am loving squeezing in a small workout early, but more than that, it is incredible to be a part of something so much bigger than myself.

I have gained so much from running and I know it has made me a more confident, determined, goal-oriented, and successful person.  I know that Team Homeboy will benefit immensely from becoming runners, and it is so awesome to see them start to develop a love for the sport.

There are so many great things about this organization and I look forward to sharing them on the blog.

If you’re interested in learning more about running with Back on My Feet in Los Angeles, click here.

What is your favorite way to give back?

How has running impacted your life?

7 Responses to “back on my feet – los angeles.”

  1. katymarie5 November 15, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    I love this! What an incredible organization. Thank you for sharing!

    • gillian November 15, 2013 at 2:14 pm #

      It’s been really great so far!

  2. Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A. November 15, 2013 at 5:29 pm #

    What a cool organization!

    I try to do everything I can to give back, no matter how small. I clean out my closet several times a year and donate clothes and household goods, I keep protein bars in my car to give to homeless people, and I leave cans and bottles outside for the neighborhood collectors. I know these things may seem trivial but I think every effort counts!

    • gillian November 15, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

      I love the idea of keeping protein bars in your car to give to the homeless — I should get on that!!

      Sent from my iPhone



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    […] with Back on My Feet LA.  You can read more about my experience here.  I am loving getting to know all of the members, and watching them grow and gain […]

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    […] November, I started volunteering and running with Back on My Feet – Team Homeboy! I also ran a couple of smaller races (Mustache Dache and the DTLA Turkey Trot), spent some time at […]

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