My journey in social entrepreneurship began not with a business plan, but rather when nothing went according to plan. I have been a competitive distance runner since elementary school – but injuries sideline a good portion of my high school career. While initially devastated, I came to see my injuries as true blessings because they made me realize how deeply I love running and the benefits it fosters: improved health, confidence, and camaraderie.
I empathized with youth who couldn’t enjoy the sport – not due to injury, like me, but because they lacked shoes and opportunity. Turning insight into action, I created Give Running, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that instills in youth – through running – character traits and skills for success in all aspects of life. Since 2006, Give Running has collected, cleaned, and donated more than 14,000 pairs of running shoes to disadvantaged kids in developing countries and local inner-city communities. We also hold youth running camps focusing on goal-setting, teamwork, leadership, and personal best effort to emphasize the broader application of lessons learned through sports.
I led our inaugural international Pyramid Running Camp in Accra, Ghana in December 2011 in partnership with iStandAbove and Witness Hope. These experiences from inner-city Los Angeles to West Africa have taught me that I am my most authentic and joyous self when I am empowering others Stand Above and to run forward – toward dreams, toward passions, and toward more fulfilling lives.