Who wakes up to run at 5:45 am?Baltimore Photo Social was honored to be a part of the 5th Annual Back on My Feet Bash, Tuesday night at the Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards. As the biggest fundraiser of the year for Back on My Feet Baltimore, they pulled out all the stops to make it a memorable night.
The Bash brought out a crowd as diverse as I could imagine. CEO's mingled with current and former homeless people; socialites with business owners and volunteers. No matter what their background, It was clear that each attendee was dedicated to the goal of Back on My Feet:
"to use running to help those experiencing homelessness change the way they see themselves so they can make real change in their lives that results in employment and independent living. "
BoMF was started in 2007 by Anne Mahlum, an avid runner living in Philadelphia. Running past the Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission at 13th & Vine Streets in Philly, Anne gradually built a rapport with the men she saw standing outside each morning. After many waves, greetings and jokes, she realized that if running could help her through her own personal challenges, including a gambling addicted father and the damage it created in her young life, there was no reason it couldn’t help these men through their struggles. On the day before Independence Day, 2007, Anne decided to test her idea by inviting 9 men, the original Back on My Feet members, to join her in her morning run. To ensure their dedication and commitment, Anne had them sign a Dedication Contract, each agreeing to "arrive on time, and with a positive attitude, three days each week at 5:30 a.m." To show her own dedication, Anne signed the contract as well. And with that first run, Back on My Feet was born.
|Keynote speaker Roderick Taylor|
Baltimore was the second chapter created of what is now 11 chapters including Austin, Boston and Washington DC. In the years Back on My Feet has been operating in Baltimore, they've helped, on average, 46% of Residential Members (those who are homeless when they join) to achieve regular employment and housing. Now Alumni members, many still run with their teams to provide encouragement and support to new members and, of course, to continue to feel the comradery that running with the team gave them. The keynote speaker at The Bash, and 2012 Residential Member of the year, was one such alumni member, Roderick Taylor. Taylor joined BoMF in March of 2012, after living in at The Baltimore Station, a residential treatment program for homeless and addicted vets. Taylor ended up at The Baltimore Station after a routine traffic stop landed him in jail. After joining BoMF, he took to running quickly and within a few months had completed his first half marathon. Soon after, he enrolled in Baltimore City Community College and began training for his first full marathon. In Oct 2012, he completed the Baltimore Marathon, his first, in an impressive 4:18 and will graduate from BCCC in April with an Associates Degree in Respiratory Care.
Rodneys speech brought tears to the eyes of most people in Tuesdays audience, including my own. With grace, he shared his appreciation to Back on My Feet and his teammates on McVets. He was humble and genuine and made it clear that without Back on My Feet, he expected to end up like his father, dead on the streets of Baltimore.
So the question was: Who wakes up to run at 5:45 am? And the answer is this: Dedicated and passionate people who are committed to taking control of and improving the quality of their lives.
The event was able to raise over $70,000, almost 100% of which will go back into the BoMF Baltimore operating budget. At $1800 per year per residential member, BoMF will be able to help 38 new members reach their potential in the next year. The majority of money raised will be put back into the program thanks to generous donations by many local Baltimore business including Baltimore Photo Social. The delicious dinner was provided by local hotels (Baltimore Waterfront Hotel, Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards and Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace); DJ Urban Cowboy kept the dance floor full; Render Perfect Productions provided an inspirational video and photography was courtesy of The Waire House.
Baltimore Photo Social has included Back on My Feet Baltimore in our Smile.Share program. If you are planning to book a photo booth for your next event, and have been moved by the BoMF story, you can save up to $100 on our service by donating $50 to them. Click on the link for more info.
For more information about Back on My Feet or to Donate, click here.
For photos from the event, click here and here.
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