You’ve signed up and attended volunteer orientation, and now preparing to head out to your first Back on My Feet run. Congratulations! Here’s what you can expect to experience that first morning:
1. Hugs & High-Fives
One of the first things you will notice as you approach your team is…hugging and high-fiving! We love to start the morning with these simple acts of compassion and human connection. If you’d prefer not to hug or high-five, not to worry! A friendly smile and hello goes a long way.
2. The Serenity Prayer
Just like a football huddle, we put our arms around each other at the start and end of every morning run. What makes our Back on My Feet circle so special is reciting the serenity prayer in unison:
God, Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things that I can
And the wisdom to know the difference
Why? The serenity prayer is an integral part of recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.And with ~75% of our members being in recovery, we want Back on My Feet to be a part of their progress and recovery moving forward.
We invite you to say the serenity prayer with us, but there is no pressure to if you don’t feel comfortable doing so. All are welcome to simply bow their heads in silence during this time.
3. Walking & Running
Back on My Fee uses running to ignite change and create a supportive community. One that lifts each other up during tough times and pushes each other to achieve the impossible. That means our morning meetups aren’t always the place to get in your early morning workout, and you might end up walking instead of running.
We ask that you meet members where they are at on any given day. That might mean walking one day and running every other block another. Your role is to encourage members, showing them they are capable of going the extra mile — on the pavement and in life.
“Community to me isn’t just a destination or an event we participate in. Community is a people we commit to. A people who know us and love us where we are now and while we are becoming something new.” ~ Gino, Volunteer
4. Making Connections
A goal of the Back on My Feet community is to break down stereotypes. One way we do this is by recognizing the things that we have in common instead of what makes us different. These commonalities are great for kicking off meaningful conversations with your teammates. At the end of the day, people are people.
Remember to be yourself, be respectful of boundaries, and share only what you feel comfortable sharing. Here are some quick tips to get you started:
- Start with small talk. Ask simple questions like: Where did you grow up? What’s your favorite type of movie? What’s your go-to breakfast? What are you up to for the rest of the day? Where’s your favorite place to go in the city? Once you find common ground, the conversation will flow.
- Focus on the future. In your conversations, focus on the future and learning from the past. Talk about each other’s goals and how you can hold each other accountable to accomplishing them.
- Be yourself. Our members often say that during the time that they spend running with Back on My Feet, they no longer feel like they are in a shelter, treatment program, transitional housing facility, etc. There’s no formal script to follow when talking with members; the more relaxed you are, the better.
5. Consistency is Key
The best way to build relationships with the members and volunteers on your team is to attend morning runs on a consistent basis. It takes time to get to know people and witness transformation in others. Make it a goal to run with your team once a week (you’ll get used to the early morning wake-up call)!
We understand that life happens, which might make a weekly early morning run difficult at times. Know that if you have to take a hiatus for any reason, you are always welcome back in our morning circle. Remember: in order to help others, you need to take care of yourself first!
You are ready to run! If you have any additional questions before joining your first morning circle, don’t hesitate to reach out to the local program staff in your city.