Course for Change is a new mentoring program designed to help Oklahoma City kids have positive experiences through physical fitness.
Many use running as a way to clear their mind, but Course for Change is using it as an avenue to make a difference.
“You can use that as an opportunity to interact with the kids. Just today, the young man I was running with today, we were just having a conversation just about random things, but I think that helps,” Oklahoma City Police Department Cpt. Dan Stewart said. “It makes an impression. I think it’s just something, as kids get older, they can look back on this time as a positive time.”
Course for Change is a program that uses running as a vehicle to mentor at-risk youth.
“It’s like a crutch, you know, especially when you have nothing else going for you,” participant DeMarion Fields said. “It’s like a motivation thing. You can always think back, like almost at any time, I can think of someone who was always rooting for me.”
“They're actually pretty nice people. They're not mean. They're not judge mental. They'll give you good advice over what to do,” participant Blessed Fields said.
Mentors in the program range from Oklahoma City police officers to National Guard soldiers all training to compete in a marathon at the end of the program.
“When kids can set goals and achieve goals, that can translate into a lot of positive ways,” Course for Change program manager Dana Hill said. “So doing this program and training for and doing a half marathon can help them achieve other positive things in their lives too and can translate in a lot of positive ways, as well.”
Members of the program will be running in the Red Coyote Marathon on May 8. This is the first season of the program. Their second season will start later this fall.