Alumni Leader Feature: Joshua
SRLA changes lives. I know, because I've experienced it firsthand.
Like many of our students, I was initially drawn to SRLA through a friend in high school who completed the marathon during my freshman year of high school. After seeing his medal and hearing about his experiences, I wanted to join also. Little did I know at the time, SRLA would become a fundamental part of my high school experience: I completed the LA Marathon during my sophomore, junior, and senior years of high school. Over those three years, I gained self-confidence that has stuck with me to this day. Those long runs gave me clarity and a sense of focus, my coaches inspired me to push myself past my comfort zone, and my friends encouraged me to stay committed, even when I felt like giving up.
Almost two decades later, I am now a teacher and SRLA coach at Francis Polytechnic High School in Sun Valley, California. As soon as our season started, a flood of memories came rushing back- The early morning bus rides to races, that one barking dog that scares you every time on your practice runs, the carbo-load dinners, and the nerves on marathon morning. But most importantly, I watched my students' experience the same transformation I experienced in my youth. I observed their grit develop as they realized they're capable of anything they set their mind to. I watched them form life-long bonds with their teammates. I saw their confidence blossom as they pushed past their own limitations, only to realize they have no limitations. And this past March, I shared and re-lived the thrill of accomplishment as we crossed the finish line at the marathon, together.
It's been an absolute honor and a tremendous privilege to coach these students. I know for certain that their futures are bright, because SRLA changes lives. I know, because I've experienced it firsthand.
As we celebrate Volunteer Appreciation Month, we would like to thank Joshua and the over 500 volunteer leaders for giving their times to Students Run LA. Our program would not exist without them!