LOS ANGELES, March 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In its 21-year history, under the guidance of more than 450 volunteer teachers and adult leaders, SRLA has trained more than 40,000 teenagers from 170 schools in the greater Los Angeles area to complete the 26.2 mile Los Angeles Marathon. On March 21, 2,800 SRLA students and volunteer leaders will again participate in the LA Marathon. While running is the core activity of the program, SRLA's mission is to challenge at-risk secondary students to experience the benefits of goal setting, character development, discipline, and improved health while keeping them involved with school.
"Our program provides students all of the resources and equipment needed to successfully complete the marathon, from running shoes to race entries, but their success comes from the mentoring they receive from their teacher leaders who train mile for mile with them, and instill in them the desire and will to seek a better future for themselves," said SRLA Executive Director Michelle Hahn. "The positive impact of the program is evident in that more than 97 percent of SRLA students complete the full 26.2 mile course and 95 percent of the high school seniors graduate and plan to attend college."
The six-month SRLA season begins in September and sends runners through one 5K event, a 10K, a 15K, a half marathon, and the 18 mile Friendship Run, all leading up to the Honda LA Marathon. On Marathon Day, 2,800 students and leaders will gather at the start line at Dodger Stadium for a group photo and to receive encouragement from basketball legend and former Laker AC Green. Along the route, students find support at the SRLA mile 22 aid station where pre-selected adult volunteers participate in "Running Them In" by accompanying flagging students during the last 4.2 miles. The "Running Them In" project is an extension of SRLA's adult mentoring philosophy and provides an opportunity for SRLA's corporate contributors to give hands-on support to students. Post-race, everyone will gather at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to celebrate this accomplishment.
SRLA Board President Nathan Crair, who himself has helped "Run Them In," said, "This is the most inspirational organization I have had the privilege to be associated with. These young people work hard to set and achieve a goal that most can never begin to imagine…finishing 26.2 miles! Thanks must go to all our loyal, longtime marathon day partners like Honda, the LA Marathon, LA84 Foundation and Aetna who make this experience happen." (A full list of funders can be found at www.srla.org.)
Established in 1989, Students Run LA (SRLA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that empowers at-risk secondary students to set and achieve goals, develop discipline, discover positive health habits and grow self-esteem through their participation in a rigorous six-month afterschool program that prepares them to train for and complete the Los Angeles Marathon. SRLA spends more than 90 percent of the funds it raises directly on services to students in the program. The SRLA scholarship program for post-secondary education has helped hundreds of eligible graduating seniors through annual $500 scholarships. The grants have helped students attend a wide range of public and private colleges and universities by providing critically needed funds for books, tuition and other expenses.
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