Anne Mahlum loves running. One day she realized that she was just running past homeless people without doing anything to help or acknowledge. This realization changed her life. She approached the homeless and started chatting with them and building a relationship. Running is what got Anne through difficult times as her family struggled through the problem of her father’s addiction to gambling. Now she felt that running could also help the homeless. She knew that instead of running by the homeless she had to run with them. She then approached the Mission and received permission to start a running club. With donated shoes and running clothes the first runners assembled on July 3rd 2007 at 6 am. Each runner signed a “Dedication Contract” committing to:
- Show up every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 am.
- Be on time.
- Respect oneself.
- Support teammates.
Today this has grown into a national movement known as “Back on My Feet” with 10 chapters all across the US. “Back on My Feet” has more than 387 members who are currently experiencing homelessness and are participating in the running program. Since inception 818 homeless people who joined the running program have obtained employment and 552 have obtained housing and are no longer homeless.
Anne’s story and work shows us how we can make an impact on the world if we are willing to care and be kind, and put actions behind our thoughts.