The MiMS Family First Annual Humblebrag Holiday Newsletter
Greetings friends far and wide! We hope you have all had a wonderful year, and we are very excited for this annual excuse to brag - I mean share - with you all the exciting “happenings” of 2017 in our MiMS family holiday newsletter!
As many of you know, we turned three years old this year—wow, time flies! - and have really enjoyed watching Team Higher Ground Mpls, our firstborn, grow and evolve over the course of four incredible seasons. However, being the overachievers we are, we started off 2017 with a real bang - adding not one but TWO more members to our family: Team Volunteers of America (VOA) and Team Sarah’s…an Oasis for Women.
Transformational sub-7 milers
Team VOA is based at a Residential Re-entry Center (RRC), for men completing part of their prison sentence within the community. Members often join the MiMS team just a few days after leaving prison, having been incarcerated anywhere from eight to 28 years. The opportunity for these Resident Members to connect with people—beyond their parole officers or case managers—on a consistent and deep level proved even more transformational than we had imagined.
In the words of one member, “Thanks to MiMS, I feel like a normal person again.” Team VOA members made huge strides both emotionally AND physically - many Run Mentors had trouble keeping up, as the entire team was clocking sub-7 minute miles by the end of the season!
Girls run the world (and speak a dozen languages)
Across town, Team Sarah’s took top honors when it became MiMS’ very first all-female and first St. Paul team! Sarah’s … An Oasis for Women provides transitional housing for women who have survived violence, abuse, torture, war, discrimination and trauma. All of the residents of Sarah’s are immigrant women, and during the 2017 season over 50% of Sarah's residents participated in MiMS! We hate to brag, but this close-knit team excelled in Foreign Languages, counting their group warm-up and cool-down in nearly a dozen languages.
Introducing... Team Higher Ground St. Paul
While we bid a fond farewell to Team YouthLink this year (after nearly a year of runs with young people experiencing homelessness), this allowed us to open a second St. Paul team in June. Welcome to the fam, Team Higher Ground St. Paul! With a whole crop of new Run Mentors, this self-professed “most fun team” earned Class Clown AND an A+ in Arts & Crafts. Despite the focus on fun, our speediest member of 2017 came from Team HG SP - Resident Chris took home 4th place overall and 1st in his age group (~beam~) at the Drumstick Dash 5K in November, his first race EVER!
The road to 26.2
October was another YUGE month for MiMS, when five of our Resident Members/Alumni culminated months of training by running the Twin Cities Marathon - a feat that calls for gushing in earnest. Many of you know how hard it is to train for a marathon. It takes dedication and commitment, but also time, money, plenty of sleep, and healthy food—things we may take for granted, but that are simply not available when you are living in a shelter. We are so proud of our marathoners (and their Run Mentor pacers) who completed this huge goal despite considerable barriers, and inspired many of their teammates to set big goals for next year!
We would be remiss to not mention our huge group of TCM FundRacers, who ran the TC Marathon or Ten Mile while simultaneously raising over $26K for Mile in My Shoes! This incredible effort, along with another $10K raised by Drumstick Dash FundRacers, allowed MiMS to increase our staff capacity, bringing Mishka’s role as Executive Director from part-time to three-quarter time. This will help us seek additional funding opportunities and bring the transformative power of running to more teams and more people experiencing homelessness in 2018.
But wait... exactly how many runners did we have in 2017?? We thought you’d never ask…
89 Resident Members ran their first mile
16 Resident Members earned the title of “Alumni” (20 runs or more)
12 Alumni Members returned to run for their 2nd (or 3rd, or 4th!) season
34 Resident Members ran a race
86 Run Mentors across four teams
113 pair of new running shoes given to members
5 new members of the MiMS Board of Directors
While our numbers are impressive (blush), it is through our members’ stories that we truly see our impact. And so, we close out our Season’s Greetings with a few words from our members:
One final reflection for 2017:
Mile in My Shoes is not a charity. We are not teams of “haves” and “have-nots.” We recognize that every one of us has something unique to share, something to offer to other human beings. MiMS morning runs are the catalysts for those exchanges, building up over the course of a season until, in the end, we find ourselves transformed. Every one of us has the opportunity to experience this when we run a mile in someone else’s shoes. Thank you for being a part of this season of amazing transformations, and we wish you a happy new year!