WRITTEN BY: SIDNEY COFFMAN
Homelessness is a serious issue throughout the country, particularly in larger cities like Philadelphia. This week has been National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which lasts until Nov. 20. Back on My Feet Philadelphia is one of many organizations in the city that helps combat homelessness.
Back on My Feet was launched in 2007 in 12 major cities across the country as a campaign to help change how our society views homelessness. The organization seeks to squash negative stereotypes surrounding the homeless. Back on My Feet Philadelphia gives homeless people a chance to regain their confidence and show society that they are motivated to, incidentally, get back on their feet.
The purpose of the organization is to promote higher self-confidence, self-esteem and strength for homeless individuals. Back on My Feet encourages the homeless to run in the morning three days a week. This commitment and encouragement of being active can help put a person back on their feet, both literally and figuratively.
The first phase of the program, which involves running three mornings a week, lasts 30 days. Nearly 80% of individuals who start the running phase complete it and move on to the “Next Steps” phase. This phase provides resources such as housing, educational support, and job training programs.
Cathryn Sanderson is the Executive Director of the Philadelphia chapter of Back on My Feet. According to Sanderson, the program is growing rapidly.
“Our goal is to serve 140 individuals this year – though we have already surpassed that,” Sanderson said. “Additionally, we look to assist 65 individuals in obtaining employment, 80 in enrolling in education and training and 40 in obtaining housing.”
Back on My Feet doesn’t run simply on the efforts of its board members.
“We will have anywhere from 75-100 active volunteers across three teams at any given time,” Sanderson said. “These three teams consist of seven partner facilities that support individuals in recovery, women’s, facilities, veteran’s facilities, and emergency and transitional facilities.”
Back on My Feet also raises money as part of its Sneaker Week Campaign. Companies and individuals can donate to help support the organization’s cause. Their current goal is to reach $20,000.
Back on My Feet also features a fundraising opportunity called “FundRacing.” Back on My Feet will enter participants into races across the country. This weekend, Philadelphia will have a “FundRacing” opportunity, taking place on Nov. 19 and 20.
Grab your gym sneakers and lace up to support a great cause!