A youth fitness program called "Teens on the Run," started by Oak Forest resident Lucy Cain and her husband, Greg, in the summer of 2011 at T.C. Jester Park, is getting a reboot.
“Teens on the Run has been dormant since 2017 due to family health issues, but the program was still listed on the internet,” Cain said. “I still had people contacting me if the program was available.”
A neighbor who is involved with another nonprofit told Cain about an internship program at the University of Houston.
“He suggested that I apply because he thought Teens on the Run is a good afterschool program, especially for middle schools,” she said. “I completed the needed forms and was pleasantly surprised that they provided an intern, Aledrian Kemp, to help me restart the program.”
With Kemp tackling the website, administrative tasks, social media, donation platform and grant applications, Cain sees a bright future for Teens on the Run, which she modeled on HoustonFit.
“With HoustonFit you met on Saturday mornings with a run and then ended with a guest speaker that pertained to running,” Cain said.
Cain, who worked for the Houston Bar Association and supervised its 8th Grade Mock Trial Program for 30 years, interacted with middle-grade students across Harris County.
“I saw the need for an afterschool program that focused on fitness and students' future,” she said. “I felt by providing a program that gives students an idea about what they need to think about for their future and their fitness would be a great opportunity, especially for those who are not participating in any afterschool clubs or sports.”
Teens on the Run has college students as supervisors, so the goal is for middle school students to meet college students in a safe and fun environment along with teaching them the importance of fitness and making good choices.
Cain is reaching out to Houston ISD middle schools to see if they would be interested in participating and following up with ones that have already shown interest. Frank Black Middle School is a previous participant in the program.
The programming will be the same as in previous years – just different speakers.
“We present speakers that are informative to young students along with speakers that the students want to hear from, too,” Cain said.
Cain and Kemp are leading a donation drive that will be used to fund the program. Funds raised go to T-shirts, yoga mats, water bottles, bottled water, sports equipment, board games, craft kits, curriculum material and supplies for kite day and ice cream day. They hope to raise $5,000.
“Middle-grade students are on the cusp of their future and if they are given information that helps them make better decisions for their future in education, fitness and social skills, then Teens on the Run (has) met its goals,” Cain said. “With students, you really don't know if you made an impact or not, but they will know because they will remember something they learned in school or in an afterschool program, especially with good college student mentors available. College student mentors make a great impact by just being there and listening to the students through fun interaction.”
Cain hopes the Houston community can help her make the program work this year.
“I truly believe it is important to help students," she said. “It’s a great learning opportunity for middle-grade students.”
For more information or to donate, visit www.teensontherun.org.