Bruins on the Run wrapped up its 3rd season October 23rd. After training for eight weeks, 112 Bartlesville Public Schools fifth graders and approximately 56 teacher-mentors participated in the Woolaroc 8K race, benefiting Run the Streets. This free, after-school running and mentoring program for fifth-graders is operated and funded by the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation.
The program started as a partnership with Run the Streets, offered at three elementary schools, and funded by seed money from a grant from the Bartlesville Community Foundation. Since its inception, it has grown into a much larger program. Now offered at all six elementary schools, the BPS Foundation sustains the funding of the program through individual donations, corporate sponsors, and local grants. Students run with their teacher mentors after school three days a week, participate in the Miles for Mammograms 5K mid-season, and wrap up their experience by running in the Woolaroc 8K. The BPS Foundation covers the cost of shoes, t-shirts, and race registrations for all student participants. The program focuses on students who do not otherwise have access to extracurricular activities and who could most benefit from the mentoring component. However, to date, the BPS Foundation has not had to turn away any student interested in participating.
Many of the students in the program have never run before, yet they finish the eight week program completing a very hilly 8K. In addition to observing transformations in students’ physical health over the course of the season, proven outcomes include an increase in students’ confidence and their ability to set and achieve goals, and an improvement in their classroom behavior. Moreover, the program gives teachers and students the opportunity to engage with each other outside of the classroom – strengthening those key relationships.
Participation of Bruins on the Run students and mentors in the 8K aligns with Superintendent Chuck McCauley’s wellness initiative where he and his wife, Jennifer, sponsor the 8K race at a level that allows all BPS employees to participate in the race at a significantly reduced registration cost. Superintendent McCauley encourages his staff to prioritize their health and leads by example, supporting both this staff initiative and the Bruins on the Run program. This year, over 156 BPS staff, including Bruins on the Run mentors, participated in the Woolaroc race.
The sustainability and expansion of Bruins on the Run depends on continued support from our community. A $50 donation pays for a student’s pair of shoes; $250 covers all program costs for a student. To donate, make a check payable to “BPSF” at 1100 S. Jennings, Bartlesville OK 74003, noting “Bruins on the Run” in the memo line, donate online at bpsfoundation.org/donate, or call our office 918-336-8600 ext 3523 for more information.