Helping the homeless get back on their feet

Back On My Feet logoI was home tonight watching the surprising Philadelphia 76ers throttle the Seatlle SuperSonics tonight…and the Sixers were honoring a Philly-based organization that I think is really neat.

The organization is called Back On My Feet and, as the Web site describes it…

…is “a strategic and unique program that uses running to teach critical work and life skills — such as discipline, respect, leadership, and goal-setting — to homeless individuals living within the city of Philadelphia. Our clients are homeless shelters and our members are residents within those shelters, all of whom must have a record of being clean and sober of 30 consecutive days before starting the program. Back on My Feet does not provide either food or shelter. While these are very important basic human needs, BOMF instead focuses on improving self-value by helping its members set, accomplish and sustain their personal goals. In addition, BOMF promotes partnerships and collaborations with individuals and organizations already working diligently to solve the many problems associated with homelessness.

Here is the short version of how it got started:


Anne Mahlum, Founder and President, would pass by a homeless shelter every morning on her daily run and began to develop a rapport with the men outside on the corner. What started out as waves and smiles from a distance became more intimate as they developed a comfort level with one another. And one morning a simple idea stopped her in her tracks….

With a call to the shelter and the astounding support from the community, Philadelphia Runner and the media, Philadelphia’s first Homeless Running Club was well, up and running. The first run took place on Tuesday, July 3rd at 6 am…and now seven months later, we are operating in three different shelters. It’s pretty amazing.

And here is BOMF’s Mission Statement:

Mission Statement: Back on My Feet is a non-profit organization that promotes the self-sufficiency of Philadelphia’s homeless population by engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.

Here is video of an ABC News story on BOMF’s founder Anne Mahlum.

If you would like to learn more, please visit www.backonmyfeet.org for information.

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