Man up. Boys don’t cry. Don’t be a pansy. Boys hear these messages, and worse, on a daily basis. When the most praised emotions are anger, aggression and pride, the most likely outcomes are illness, addiction, and violence. This mandated performance of hyper-masculinity prevents close relationships by masking boys’ authentic selves. And it’s killing them. Ninety men in the U.S. commit suicide every single day, four of whom are boys under the age of 19. We have to break this Boy Code, and Let Me Run is doing just that.
Let Me Run is a nonprofit wellness program that inspires 4th through 8th grade boys to be themselves, be active, and belong. With a comprehensive curriculum that applies the power of running, we encourage boys to develop their psychological, emotional, and social health, in addition to their physical health. And we’re seeing results. According to a recent independent evaluation by the Institute to Promote Athlete Health & Wellness of the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, Let Me Run significantly improves boys’ attitudes and behaviors associated with healthy masculinity, increases vigorous physical activity levels, improves social competence, and reduces screen time on school days.
Twice a week for seven weeks, two trained volunteer coaches lead an elementary or middle school team through practice. Designed to amplify confidence, self-expression, and respect for others, each practice includes a lesson from the Let Me Run curriculum that incorporates running, games, and activities. Each fall and spring season culminates in a 5k race festival that celebrates each boy’s personal growth.
Let Me Run has reached over 525 boys across Columbus since it’s start in the area 3 years ago. Claire Houpt, Regional Director of Let Me Run Columbus, brought Let Me Run to her son’s school after she realized the need for a program specifically created for boys. “I searched and found Let Me Run, and brought it to Dublin schools as a volunteer.” After getting the program into several more schools, she was offered the job as Regional Director. Now Claire’s focus is to expand Let Me Run into Columbus and all the surrounding suburbs to give every boy the opportunity to experience the life-changing program. “There are so many boys who need to experience the positive impact of Let Me Run. This program gives boys emotional and social health, self-esteem, respectful attitudes, last friendships, and so much more.”
If you would like to join the movement to help break the Boy Code, contact Let Me Run Columbus at:
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