How YOU Can Help The Camillus House Children’s Run Team

First and foremost, thank you for being here. This post explains how you can help the Camillus House Children’s Run Team. Please feel free to email me at anytime at triathlonmami@icloud.com.

My favorite picture of the tryouts

My favorite picture of the tryouts

A short refresher: Camillus House is one of the largest agencies in Miami-Dade working with persons who are homeless. In addition to food, overnight shelter, medical care, showers and other emergency services, Camillus is home for families who become homeless. This happens when a breadwinner becomes ill or loses their job, or the family has a crisis of some sort and find themselves unable to pay rent. They are then displaced, usually having to let go of all their possessions which they can neither carry nor afford to store. Many of these families have children and end up in a shelter, car, motel or any sort of place to spend the night and stay together.

One place families can turn to is Camillus’ House Mother Seton Village in Homestead, Florida. Here, families can live up to two years knowing they have the opportunity to get back on their feet without the fear of losing their home once again. They receive assistance and services and once they build up their savings and find stability, they move out on their own. Mother Seton has 39 units and as of May 1st, 95 children live in them. Of those, 22 showed up early in the morning of May 9, 2015 for the first ever Camillus House Run Team try outs.

camillus house run team sign up

Coach Lilly helping Lanay sign up.

They began to run, and when I looked closely, few, if any, had a dry fit shirt and it was a HOT day. Most were wearing beaten up sneakers and one kid only had a canvas shoe. Most of the boys ran in cloth bermudas. And only one child had a water bottle. But all were giving everything they had.

camillus house run team tryout

The Program

  •  We kick off at a one week summer camp in June where the Camillus House Children’s Run Team is created from both the children at Camillus House TOGETHER with children who come from more affluent communities.
  • During camp, children will focus on running. They will be timed in an age and fitness appropriate distance, and assigned partners to work with. So for example Dreamer, my son, will be paired with one of the boys at Camillus House who runs near his pace.
Pint size participants

Pint size participants

  • After camp and throughout the summer, the team will be given assignments and partners must communicate with each other for accountability.
  • In August, we meet again for a big party/race in Homestead (consider yourself invited.) There, the Camillus House Children’s Run Team will compete. If the majority of children beat their summer camp times, then ALL children at Mother Seton will get bicycles. Remember, the team has 35 children, but 95 live at Mother Seton.
  • The program is structured so that the team composed of children who live wildly different lives, have a real opportunity of connecting and learning from each other. But ALL of them are working for the greater good because if they succeed, they are going to earn bikes for everyone. This is not about winning for themselves.
  • When the bikes are delivered, BikeSafe will have a bike rodeo to teach safety skills, and we are currently developing a maintenance program since a bike with a flat is of no use to anyone.
Both of my sons, up on a tree, with their Camillus House peers

Both of my sons, up on a tree, with their Camillus House peers

From there, who knows what will happen? How empowered will they be? Who will they inspire? What will a kid with a bike do? Regardless, active play will become part of daily life at Mother Seton.

Sounds great right? I know we are going to get there … but we sure could use some help. So here is a list of things we need, some have to be local, but many don’t! Don’t be shy and get involved!

We also have a sponsorship package that goes together with tons of social media. Email me directly at triathlonmami@gmail.com.

Team Got Chocolate Milk sent us some goodies, as did YouFit Gyms

Team Got Chocolate Milk sent us some goodies, as did YouFit Gyms

Ways to help regardless of where you live:

+ Running shoes: We want new shoes as these children rarely get something unused. You will be assigned a specific child and given the shoe size.  Too busy? Give us a gift card to a shoe store, or cash, and we will go shopping for you.

+ Helmets: Noggins must be protected.  We’ve got five, we need about ninety more!

Out of towners can send in donations just like professional triathlete Emily Cocks!

Out of towners can send in donations just like professional triathlete Emily Cocks!

+Medals: We don’t have any, nor funds to purchase. It can be leftovers from a race that happened previously as long as they are the same for everyone. We need around 42.

+ Funds: We need to buy parts to fix the bikes but also to maintain them. We also have miscellaneous expenses. Funds are directed to Camillus House (tax deductible) and we must invoice our expenses to them. 100% legit and transparent. Checks must be earmarked for the program.

+ Food: We will cover ALL the food costs associated with Camillus House children at camp.  That includes snack, lunch and lots of fluids. Food donations, or gift cards to a supermarket, Walmart, Target or similar are most welcomed. We also need Gatorade and those cooler dispensers like at aid stations in races. We can borrow those and return.

Ms. Kimmy, our counterpart at Mother Seton is nothing short of a rock star and wants to get all the kids in shape!

Ms. Kimmy, our counterpart at Mother Seton is nothing short of a rock star and wants to get all the kids in shape!

Hey South Florida – these are for YOU!

+ Bikes: We need bikes of all sizes, but we don’t need junk. If you could fix the bikes before giving them to us, fantastic! But if not, we will figure it out. If the bike is very corroded, it might be more expensive to fix it than purchase a new one.

these are about half of the bikes I currently have all over my house.  God bless my husband and his patience!

As bikes are ready, they will be sent to Camillus House for storage.  Until then, my husband has to put up with them.  The ones in great condition are indoors.

+ Mechanical Help: Do you love taking bikes apart and fixing them? Are you in Miami? Boy, do we have stuff for you to tinker with.

My current bike mechanics assistance.  HELP!

My current bike mechanics. HELP!

Here are some other ideas:

  • Talk to your local bike store and hold a collection of used bikes, then have a BBQ or other event to fix them up before you donate them.
  • Are you part of a cycling or triathlon team? Commit to sourcing 5 (or 3, or 300) bikes from your membership, fix them up, and donate on behalf of the team!
  • Do you work for a bike related company anywhere? Sell us parts at cost or better yet, send us some for our maintenance program!
  • Are you the type that loves to see people on bicycles? Help us set up the maintenance program so that those 90+ donated bikes are used for years to come.

And whatever else you can think of …

IMG_3030

Lets do this!

Again, I know it’s hard and ambitious but we can do it. Especially if we have your help so please consider pitching in. Feel free to email me at triathlonmami@gmail.com

Thank you so much for your continued support! - Coach Lilly & Cristina

Thank you so much for your continued support! – Coach Lilly & Cristina

 

 

 

7 thoughts on “How YOU Can Help The Camillus House Children’s Run Team

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *