If you’re looking for the longest shot in the field at this year’s Los Angeles L.A. Marathon in March you’ll find it working out three days a week at the track in Beeman Park in Studio City.
Team ARC, it’s called. The team with the slowest times, longest odds and biggest hearts.
The team that won’t quit no matter how tough and painful it gets out there running and walking 26.2 miles.
Team ARC’s carrying the reputations and dreams of too many kids and adults like them on their shoulders to fail.
Kids born with severe mental and physical disabilities who have been told their entire lives to go play with your own, you’re not good enough to play – to compete – with us.
Yeah? Sez who?
“C’mon, old men, let’s go,” 25-year-old Angela Armenta yells, jogging onto the track at Beeman Park late Thursday afternoon for a team workout.
The young woman born with Down syndrome is laughing and rubbing it in a little because her teammates – the old men – have two L.A. Marathons already under their belts and she’s the rookie.
When Jennifer Davis, activities director for ARC – Activities for Retarded Children – asked Ralph Adame, 48, and his buddy Tim Sathre, 42, what they thought of a girl joining them for the marathon this year they said sure, why not?
“The guys have been so encouraging to her,” Davis says. “They’ve been pushing and inspiring each other. People don’t realize how important health and wellness is for the disabled community, too.”
We realize it. We just don’t pay much attention to it. That’s why national organizations like Special Olympics are so important to remind us what the physically challenged community is capable of.
Anything, if you give them a chance.
ARC’s always been one of my favorite nonprofits in the Valley because it has one of those back stories that make you want to stand up and cheer for them.
It was started in the late 1960s by a small group of local mothers whose children were retarded. Harsh term, but that’s what it was called back then.
They’d meet in a little park every Saturday to let their kids play together because nobody else’s kids seemed to want to play with them.
The mothers made a pact to watch over and protect each other’s “retarded” kids, and they have. Most of the original mothers have passed on, but their kids have stayed together – keeping the old ARC name because if it was good enough for their mothers, it’s good enough for them.
Ralph was born with brain damage. Tim was diagnosed as having mild retardation with autistic and Asperger’s tendencies.
Angela, born with Down syndrome, has two older brothers, a younger sister and two great parents who love her deeply and include her in all the social activities and sports the family enjoys.
Last September they asked Angela if she’d like to join Team ARC and start training for the L.A. Marathon? Angela gave it a couple of seconds’ thought before making up her mind.
“I do it,” she said, smiling. “I do it.”
So here she is on a late Thursday afternoon in early January with a couple of 5K’s and one 10K already under her belt – pushing her older, male teammates and one new member, Antoinette Mendoza, 42, to pick up the pace.
The Los Angeles Marathon is coming up in a couple of months and Team ARC – the longest shot with the biggest heart in the field – has to be ready.
They’re representing a couple of thousand kids and young adults in the Valley just like them – labeled since birth.
No way Team ARC is going to let them down.
If you want to support Angela and Team ARC, more information is available online at www.crowdrise.com/teamangela.October 6, 2010
There is still time to join a “Charity Team”. Check out Carole and Robert founders of their charity and running the marathon!
Carole and Robert Donahue are not just any couple. Husband and wife for over four decades, they have a combined 70 years experience as educators and, together, they founded an innovative, non-profit organization aimed at improving the health and wellness of underserved students in the Los Angeles area through after-school mentoring programs. As they approach their 70’s, Carole and Bob show no signs of slowing down—literally.
So this year, Carole and Bob will be running the LA marathon for their non-profit organization, SOSMentor ShapeUp. Their participation in this years’ marathon represents the next step in their fight toward defeating childhood obesity and getting our country on the road to good health.
Carole and Bob have spent years helping children learn how to eat well and get fit. Always acting as an example for the youth they serve, they decided to run in the LA Marathon because they believe it to be the perfect embodiment of what they advocate. For years, Carole and Bob have trained students to lead a healthy life which, like training for a marathon, requires a large commitment but yields huge rewards.
Many people justifiably wonder why they would decide to train for their first marathon at this point in their lives. As Carole says, “We’re doing it for the kids!”
For more information about joining Team SOSMentor Shape Up Contact Jessica Helman-Cubilla (818) 222-4243 – email@example.comSeptember 28, 2010
Team In Training (TNT) has been a part of the Official Charity for the past 10 years with only two chapters participating. This year The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as chosen the Honda LA Marathon to be one of Team In Training’s national races growing to nine chapters participating in next year’s race. Last year TNT raised over $400,000 and this year expects to raise over $900,000! The chapters participating are as follows:
Greater Los Angeles
Greater San Francisco
Middle America – Kansas
Silicon Valley/Monterey Bay
New Mexico/El Paso
Rocky Mountain – Denver
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS’s) roots stretch back to 1949, when the de Villiers family experienced the devastation of leukemia with the death of their 16-year-old son, Robert Roesler de Villiers. Family members and friends declared war on the disease by creating The Robert Roesler de Villiers Foundation, funding research to find a cure. The foundation later became The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Their mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
Team In Training began in 1988, when Bruce Cleland of Rye, NY formed a team that raised funds and trained to run the New York City Marathon in honor of Cleland’s daughter Georgia, a leukemia survivor. Team In Training was born and has grown into the world’s largest endurance sports training program.
Team In Training offers runners and walkers the opportunity to take on the challenge of a marathon and make a difference in the lives of an estimated 957,902 Americans living with or in remission blood cancers. Along with a customized-training program and expert coaching, participants will train with a local group of like-minded individuals for motivation and inspiration.
Lauren from the Greater Los Angeles Chapter initially joined Team In Training in memory of her mother, Paula Sukenik, who passed away from leukemia in 2008 after a four year battle.
“My mother fought the disease with such courage and optimism, and I knew that if she could be that strong during her challenge, I could overcome the challenge of running a marathon while honoring her legacy. It was especially important to me to train with TNT, so I could raise money for blood cancer research and patient support, because I witnessed firsthand all of the support my family was given by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and I wanted to give back to other families going through what we went through. I believe so strongly in this organization that my sister and I have collectively participated in 5 events as TNT athletes, rising over $17,000 for the cause, and I now am a full-time employee of LLS.”
Click here more information about joining Team In Training.
September 21, 2010
Having charity awareness creates a desire to help others and by this, enables a person to think of ways and means to inspire more and more people to have awareness of the world around them. As more become aware, they are better able to reach out, help, and share what they have to those who are in need. Hence, reaching out and creating a big difference in other people’s lives.
I was recently shocked to learn that a 5 time Honda LA Marathon runner didn’t know there was an Official Charity Program associated with the Honda LA marathon. …thus the Official Charity Awareness Day was born!
On Wednesday, September 22, 2010 approximately 50+ runners representing our 65 Official Charities will run all or part the 2011 Honda LA Marathon course. They will be starting at Dodger Stadium at 7:00am and finishing in Santa Monica approximately around 1:00pm. There will be pit stops along the way. They are taking on this challenge to bring charity awareness to all of Los Angeles. If you are on or near the route feel free to come on out and join in or just give a cheer!
Start @ Dodger Stadium / 7:00am
Mile 6.5 @ Sunset & Mohawk / 8 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.
Mile 13 @ Sunset & Fairfax / 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.
Mile 19.5 @ Santa Monica & Veteran / 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
Finish @ Santa Monica & California / Noon to 1:30 p.m.
Being charitably aware brings about a sense of fulfillment to those who turn their desire to actions and thus enrich the lives of those who are in need!
If you like to Make Your Miles More Meaningful check out our 65 Official Charities.
Ginger WilliamsSeptember 14, 2010
How we care for children, protect their welfare, and prepare them for the future are the most important issues we face during our lifetime. – Anonymous
This week I’d like to highlight our children’s charities. Our Official Charities Program has 16 children’s charities many of which are Los Angeles’ finest charitable organizations dedicated to meeting the needs of children locally and worldwide.
Blind Children’s Center is a family-centered agency which serves young children with visual impairments.
Child S.H.A.R.E. (Support, Hope, Advocacy, Resources, Encouragement) is a non-profit organization that helps to find safe, loving and stable homes for abused children.
Girls on the Run of Los Angeles County uses the power of running to prepare girls in 3rd thru 8th grades for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living.
Justice For Murdered Children is determined to see that the scales of justice are balanced, that our murdered children are not forgotten and that the rights of the victims’ families are zealously protected.
Love Without Boundaries Foundation is a worldwide group of volunteers dedicated to improving the lives of orphaned and impoverished children in China.
The Pablove Foundation mission is to fund pediatric cancer research and advances in treatment, educate and empower cancer families, and improve the quality of life for children living with cancer through hospital play, music and arts programs.
Stoked Mentoring mission is to empower youth from underserved communities by providing programs based in action sports culture.
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is internationally recognized for its pioneering work in finding cures and saving children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases
Sunshine Kids Foundation provides a variety of programs and events, free of charge, for kids who are receiving cancer treatments in hospitals across North America.
The Alliance for Children’s Rights is protecting the rights and futures of abused and impoverished children throughout Los Angeles County.
The Karno Kids Foundation is a non-profit organization inspired and energized by kids.
Karno Kids supports, encourages and motivates fellow youth to get outside and become physically active and helps restore and preserve the environment.
The Painted Turtle mission is to provide a year-round, life-changing environment for sick children and their families – one that allows these children to participate in an authentic camp experience by supporting their medical needs and offers their families care, education and respite.
The Story Project is committed to building a stronger society by strengthening communication skills in kids through our after-school programs.
Wildwoods Foundation with a motto of “Building Community by Exploring Nature” the Wildwoods Foundation provides innovative outdoor and nature-based programs to the communities of the greater Los Angeles region.
Youth Mentoring Connection awakens at-risk youth to their power, unique gifts and purpose by matching them with caring adult mentors
Zimmer Children’s Museum is dedicated to teaching people about the BIG IDEAS of global citizenship, community responsibility, and cultural sensitivity
Consider running on behalf a children’s charities and help to give children all over the world a fighting chance at a brighter tomorrow and a more fulfilling future. http://www.lamarathon.com/charities/
“Sunshine Kids has given me the opportunity to be a kid. I will remember it for the rest of my life. Even though I had a below the knee amputation, I now feel I can do any sport or anything” - Katie Divulus, Sunshine KidSeptember 7, 2010
Last week I asked the question “Why not run for a charity this year?” Hopefully you decided this is the year that you will, but the Honda LA Marathon has 65 Official Charities that you can support. So with very broad range of charities how do you choose!
I certainly can’t tell you — and shouldn’t tell you — which charity to support. What I can do is introduce you to them so you’ll have some ideas about what to consider as you make your choice.
I’m proud to introduce to you this week John and Edna Ball National Co-chairs of Team Parkinson.
John was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in 1983 and began running as a means to fight back against this degenerative neurological disease. Edna’s mother had been diagnosed with the same condition in 1961, when Edna was only 11, so you could that they both have a tremendous stake in trying to help people with the disease, and help find a cure.
Team Parkinson got started by Mary Yost, who saw John running in the LA Marathon in 1999 and she decided that if he could do it, in spite of living with Parkinson’s’ disease, so could she. Mary also suffers from PD. As she prepared herself for the March 2000 LA Marathon, she decided that it would be a great tool both for raising awareness of the impact of Parkinson’s on society, and also for raising money for research to find a cure. With Mary as their leader and the Parkinson Alliance as their parent organization, they raised $51,000 that first year. Team Parkinson has been an official charity for the last ten years.
Team Parkinson’s concept as simple as possible – no dues or memberships, no fundraising limits, and no costly coaching programs – they have helped many athletes who want their efforts to make a positive difference -both those with Parkinson’s and those interested in the community – achieve their personal goals and find a way to contribute financially to the research for a cure to this devastating disease. Anyone can represent Team Parkinson at any race or event around the country as part of a team or as an individual.
Team Parkinson has been very successful over the years at the LA Marathon, raising a total of $1,008,556 in 11 years of participation, and almost $2 million over all. In the words of John Ball, “Team Parkinson is not just for LA anymore; it’s gone global! Thanks to the Honda LA Marathon for making our success possible”
To join Team Parkinson…1-866-822-CURE (2873) www.team-parkinson.orgAugust 31, 2010
“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much…” Helen Keller
This year the Official Charity Program has set a goal of raising $ 4
It’s not hard to get started and the Honda LA Marathon presented by K-Swiss has 65 Official Charities that you can choose from, http://www.lamarathon.com/charities/. Also running for charity is a great way to get involved with your community and do something for a great cause.
Did you know only 1% of the population annually runs a marathon? You could become a member of this elite group with an amazing accomplishment and the sense that you did something even more important than getting in good shape.
Once you’ve chosen a charity to run/walk for they will support you all the way to the finish line. The charities have a proven track record of helping their runners stay focused and energized while training and fundraising. Your progress will be marked with many victories along the way: milestones passed, friendships started and discoveries made. And you won’t lack for inspiration, either. Your amazing journey will help raise millions of dollars in support of the charity of your choice.
So go ahead and get into the spirit of the run. Get enthusiastic about the chances of improving the situation for your chosen cause. Talk it up with friends and family. Get them into it. Get their names on pledge sheets. Get their cooperation in the form of volunteering to help with your training course support, if they’d rather not run. Count them IN! All donations will be gratefully accepted.
Remember, running for a charity is not about finishing first or at lightning speed but simply covering the miles and reaching the finish line which translates into the attainment of your marathon and fundraising and life goals!
Ginger WilliamsAugust 24, 2010
Part of my responsibilities as Director of Community Relations is to oversee our Official Charity Program. There are 65 charities that are participating in the 2011 Honda LA Marathon. The Program provides opportunities to locally-based charities and chapters to use the Honda LA Marathon as a platform to raise funds that benefit and positively impact the people in our community.
Fundraising is not always easy, and sometimes you don’t hit your financial goals. But these charities do more than raise money. These charitable institutions make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, they inspire, educate and increase awareness of how we can all participate in improving the people in our neighborhoods.
Today I’d like to introduce you to Mr. Ruben Hernandez, the Founder and President of Unification of Disabled Latin Americans:
Ginger: Ruben can you help us understand what UDLA is?
Ruben: I founded UDLA (Unification of Disabled Latin Americans) in 1974 to improve the quality of life of disabled individuals and help them to recover their self-esteem which in turn can help them to return as productive members of our society.
Ginger: When do you start UDLA?
Ruben: I came to the USA at age 20, and three years later a tragedy struck my life and changed it forever. At age 23 I lost my sight due to a gun shot on my head, This tragic event became a blessing to me and eventually others. Because of the shooting and injury I founded UDLA, which has been extremely instrumental in the rehabilitation of hundreds of disabled individuals and their families.
When I founded UDLA I was unaware that I was going to be the first recipient of its services and programs. I am who I am today thanks to the opportunities that UDLA has given to me in so many ways of my life. My blindness forced me to utilize the entire potential God has given to me, This experience helped me understand the world of the disabled and the things I need to change in order to help them.
My blindness encouraged me to go back to school to achieve an education and to prepare myself for the future. My blindness gave the opportunity to become an advocate for the disabled and it is a great friend and motivator to achieve my goals.
Ginger: How long has UDLA been an Official Charity, and has your fundraising been successful using the marathon as your fundraising platform?
Ruben: We have been part of the Honda Los Angeles Marathon for 20 years, and have raised $250,000 to help those in our community.
Ginger: What has been the best method for UDLA to fundraise?
Ruben: Our most successful method has been to engage our friends, families, volunteers and charity team members who run on behalf of our center. These folks know the philosophy, purpose and mission statement of UDLA. They are our biggest tool for fundraising because they are a part of the family of UDLA. The doors of UDLA are always open to anyone that would like to become a volunteer, or someone who needs services. For 36 years we have provided free services for the disabled and their families and organized events beneficially for the whole community.
For more information about Ruben and UDLA, please click here http://www.udlaus.org/August 18, 2010
How do you define Community Relations? Well for us that question begets another question. Who is Ginger Williams? Well if you’re one of the 25,000+ runners or 6,000 volunteers who participated in our 2010 event you’ve probably never heard of her. But, if you’re one of the hundreds of churches, businesses, community groups, BID’s or homeowners groups that are located along our 26.2 route, Ginger’s the face, and more importantly the town crier of all things Marathon.
And as important as her efforts are to us and to all the cities and communities participating in the Honda LA Marathon, we think she’s even more important to our event and our community for her unequaled efforts to support the 65 charities that raised over $2,000,000 dollars in 2010. That’s a 100% increase in fundraising year over year.
Similar to introducing you ‘all to our Race Director a few weeks back, and Rod Dixon last week, we’d like you all to say “heh” to our favorite person of the week Ginger Williams! Every Tuesday Ginger will introduce you to some of the folks and charities that make such a great impact on so many lives here in Southern California.
We talk a lot about our mission statement of connecting communities and Ginger’s effort is the flagship of what we’re attempting to accomplish. Please check back every Tuesday for some amazing people Ginger’s going to introduce us to, and the wonderful stories that might change your life.
For a list of all these great groups, please click here.