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March 03, 2015 05:54 PM

Running To Teach Life Lessons

Sioux Falls, SD

You may have heard about "Girls on the Run," a program that teaches young girls the importance of good self-esteem, community service, and exercise. Unfortunately, there hasn't been a program like this for boys that is until now.

"Running makes these boys vulnerable, and we teach them life lessons," Let Me Run CEO Paul Martino said.

On Tuesday, the CEO of the national Let Me Run organization is in Sioux Falls to kick start the program with EmBe.

"We want boys to be comfortable with who they are and appreciate the greatness within themselves. We want boys to appreciate the qualities of others, so they can build strong, positive and healthy relationships,"  Martino said.

Fourth and fifth graders at Terry Redlin and Lowell Elementary Schools can take part. Organizers hope to eventually expand it to more schools.

"We want boys to lead an active and healthy lifestyle," Martino said.

During the 7-week program, boys will not only run, but also meet with volunteer coaches and talk about issues they face.

"It's truly about self esteem issues and anger issues and how you work with others your same age," Shannon VanBuskirk said. "There's a huge need for this in the community."

Shannon VanBuskirk has two boys and knows about the struggles young men face.

"Boys sometimes feel like, 'Be a man. Don't cry,'" VanBuskirk said. "They can't be thinking that crying is bad."

That's why she's helping launch Let Me Run here in Sioux Falls.

"They need an outlet. They need something. They have a lot of emotions, and they just need to run it out," VanBuskirk said.

"Society has developed this boy code in which boys are supposed to act and be a certain way, which is stoic and always in control. It just limits these boys' individuality. With Let Me Run we want that individuality to shine," Martino said.

An individuality that boys will hopefully run away with.

If you’re interested in coaching, you can find more information at EmBe.org, or by calling Stacy Stahl at 605-336-3660.

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