Alumni Feature: T's Perspective
Tianna, or T as the SRLA family knows her, has been involved with Students Run LA for 15 years as a student, leader, and coach.
I often get the question “how different is it training for a marathon as a kid compared to an adult” or “how is SRLA different to you throughout the years.” Honestly, training isn’t much different but the perspective on SRLA is. The difference is, kid’s bodies are more resilient so physically training can be easier but mentally training can be harder. Running as a kid you really don’t know what you’re getting yourself into, where as an adult you know it’s not as easy.
Now perspective wise needs a story. I joined SRLA when I was in eight-grade. I joined because I love sports and like a lot of other LAUSD kids, I came from the lower end of the economy. Paying for sports wasn’t much of an option and SRLA was free. I also came from divorced parents so there was a gap in my life I wanted to fill. I rarely saw my parents, my older siblings lived with their dad and I pretty much took care of myself. So, I decided join SRLA. When I was joining, I didn’t go into it with the mindset of “this is going to change my life”. I went into it as, maybe I’ll make some friends (I was an extremely shy kid) and fill the gap I had.
I remember my first practice and how I was nervous to be out there, but my coach was so encouraging, and I knew I found something to be apart of. As I said before, as a kid I didn’t expect this program to change my life. I didn’t think training and completing the marathon would change my mindset, how to set goals, how to work for and complete them, etc. As an adult I realized what I learned throughout the program shaped me into the person I am today. I wasn’t the best student and didn’t care to go to college, but once I joined the program that thought changed. Each year my grades went up and the thought of college became more of a reality. When I became a senior, I won a SRLA scholarship which gave me more confidence and encouragement to go to college. I didn’t qualify for financial aid, so I took a year off to save up money to go to college. I started community college the following year, transferred to a University and I’m now a CSUN grad with a Bachelor’s in Food Science and Administration.
I’ve become very active in the running community by being an ambassador for races and other companies. It wouldn’t have been possible without training for a marathon at such a young age. I would have never set these goals and found a way to achieve them. So, you can say perspective wise, SRLA as a kid, you don’t think it will help set you up in life, but as an adult you completely see how it does. Fifteen years late I am still a part of this program watching kids go through the sane cycle as I did. I’m one of the few who joined as a middle schooler, became a friend, a leader and an ambassador one year without missing a season. I’m beyond grateful for the experience and hope it continues.