Winter creates a cold, bitter feeling outside, yet that doesn’t stop the students at Kearns St. Ann Catholic School from going on a morning run in the Running Forward program, which helps students build self-confidence by teaching them life success skills.
“Running Forward helps me stay positive,” 5th-grader Ksana Demet says. “The teachers are very nice and kind.”
Every Friday morning students in grades four through eight arrive an hour early to school to participate in the Running Forward program. The site leaders start with an opening lesson and discussion, which focuses on particular life skills and traits, such as treating others with kindness. Then students stretch, play a warm-up game and run, each time farther than last.
Mr. Jeff Lambert, Kearns St. Ann’s athletic director, believes the program is an asset to the school and students.
“It helps students set goals, learn about proper exercise and nutrition, and builds positive relationships and good habits. I really think it makes an impact because it helps young students learn the value of persistence and hard work. Their progress and improvement is tangible and the students get to see that every week,” he says.
In addition to the weekly meeting, the program has three events during the year: an obstacle course at Salt Lake Community College, a Harry Potter-themed Quidditch game at Westminster College, and the 5K race at the University of Utah. Students also receive information about and tours of the college campuses.
“I love seeing the progress both physically and mentally that students make throughout Running Forward and the school year,” said Sofia Loucao, the St. Ann’s Running Forward site leader. “ The St. Ann’s kids are very receptive to new subjects, activities and running techniques and have all been a joy to work with.”
Courtesy of Kearns St. Ann Catholic School