June 1, 2016
Many of you might not know this, but today is Global Running Day!
According to globalrunning.org , “Global Running Day is a day for people around the world to celebrate the joys of running. Participation is easy—just pledge to take part in some type of running activity on June 1, 2016. It can be a solo lap around the block, a long run with friends, or even a game of tag with your kids. The key is to share your passion for the sport and inspire others to get moving.”
We don’t know if we will be running around the office today, but to help celebrate this global day, we want to introduce you to an amazing non-profit organization, that will definitely be participating!
Here is our interview with Denali Lander, the Executive Director of Youth Run NOLA:
The/Studio: Introduce yourself. Tell our readers a little bit about who you are!
Denali: I’m Denali Lander, the Executive Director of Youth Run NOLA. I helped build this non-profit throughout the past six years from a grassroots effort of teachers running with their students after school.
The/Studio: It is a pleasure to virtually meet you! What does your organization do?
Denali: Youth Run NOLA empowers and creates a community of healthy, young leaders through running. We partner with teachers at schools in predominately lower-income communities of the Greater New Orleans region to help middle and high school youth develop a supportive network and experience the joys of healthy living.
The/Studio: What a wonderful concept! What have you learned since starting Youth Run NOLA?
Denali: Everyone presents opportunity. Each person in the city/country (world) has something to offer to help improve our organization and maximize our impact on our young runners. It’s super important to take the time to really connect with people about their experiences and wisdom. We’re only as successful as we are because of the generosity of people in sharing their time, ideas, money, and love, so we try to approach everyone with the mentality of sharing joy and health with them and learning from them constantly.
The/Studio: What about your Youth Run NOLA are you most proud of?
Denali: All of the kids who have graduated from high school and our program have come back to run with younger kids.
The/Studio: What are some of the greatest challenges you face with your organization?
Denali: Ensuring our stability as a non-profit is a constant hustle.
The/Studio: Where do you see Youth Run NOLA in 10 years?
Denali: We certainly have hopes that kids who are involved now will be leading the organization, running community teams all across the New Orleans area – and other cities across the country – and we’re continuing to help thousands of people experience the joys of supportive teams and healthy lifestyles.
The/Studio: What type of legacy do you want to leave?
Denali: Through facing a challenge together, anyone can build a bond.
The/Studio: That is beautiful! What is the story behind the custom product that you produced with The/Studio?
Denali: Each year, we train with middle and high school kids for a half marathon. These kids represent the hardest working young folks of the broader Youth Run NOLA community. At five regional parks, kids and their community-member, volunteer running-buddies train for the distance for three months. Each park develops a strong culture and pride, and the Chalmette Battlefield Blazers – after logging miles through December, January, and February – decided to showcase that pride with a patch to add to their t-shirt on race day.
The/Studio: Do you have any upcoming events that our community members can attend?
Denali: Look out for our 2016-2017 race calendar in August and join us as a walking/jogging/running buddy for one of our upcoming races!
The/Studio: Is there anything our community members can do to help?
Denali: Everything helps! Follow us online, sponsor a young runner, join us for a race! We love and appreciate everyone who believes in the potential of every kid.
Thank you, Denali! On behalf of everyone at The/Studio, Happy Global Running Day to all of the teachers and kids at Youth Run NOLA!