Live Uncommon - Never Giving Up, Always Giving Back.
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Race Series Event #2 - RUN FOR RENEWAL
Apr 21, 2012
All Series Events have been selected based upon their Give Back
. The Series is book-ended with anchor events that, besides Giving Back, are strong, established events that most runners would probably run anyway. These book-ends make the Series appealing to the Race Teamer, as they are events that would run in regardless. Having these events on the Series accomplished two things – One, our heroic Race Teamers run these events at a ‘bargain price’; Two, the Movement makes a HUGE impact on these events via their fundraising effort. Win, Win.
The St. Pat’s and Quad Cities Marathon Races are the LU Series Book-Ends.
Other events have planfully been selected and inserted into the Series so that an
ENORMOUS IMPACT may be made upon their Causes.
small Race Events, but large Give Back Causes.
This next event –
LIVE UNCOMMON Race Series Event #2 – RUN FOR RENEWAL is such a Cause
Here is some background from Michelle Russell:
This is a bit long-winded, but it is the best way I can come up with to illustrate the WHY we are doing what we’re doing. Please read………
A couple of years ago, LIVE UNCOMMON -- in the form of me before LIVE UNCOMMON was born -- volunteered at the free Summer Track Program offered to Davenport kids at Brady Street Stadium hosted by Cornbelt Running Club. At the time, I was a member of the Cornbelt Race Team. The person in charge of the program was going to be on vacation for a few of the weeks and asked me to step into the lead role during her absence. I nervously agreed, and then put my ‘spin’ on it. I started the workouts with callouts to the many volunteers and acknowledgements of the impressive talent -- like Coaching Legend Ira Dunsworth -- who humbly come out to lend their expertise. I emphasized Good Sportmanship to the many young faces looking up at me during these announcements. During the course of the evening workout, two young men (both about 8 years old) were offering negative commentary to fellow participants during a drill. I spoke with them straightforwardly about how ‘uncool’ that was and gave them examples of what would be better -- ‘good job!....way to go!....nice work!’ -- and explained how these positive comments make a person, both giving and receiving, feel so much better about themselves – how what One does and says has an impact. The very next round, One of the boys altered his approach, made a complete turnaround and offered up the most positive comments to his peers – it was awesome. The other, looked angry, went silent, and moved off to the side. Further conversation with this boy led me to believe this youngster hears NO positive comments going into his ears in his Life, is familiar only with negative feedback. It was tragic.
At the conclusion of the workout, in the closing, I created an inpromptu
for the young man who displayed the positive
turnaround. I called out to this young man in front of the crowd and explained why he was being recognized as the night’s MVP.
stood up and was visibly proud
. It was cool.
A couple of weeks later, I was running on the bike path on the river and came across this same young man walking with an adult. I stopped to say hello and learned that they were enjoying the afternoon as part of a Big Brother outing. They had a backpack with bread for the ducks and water for themselves. I brought up the MVP thing to the Big and he said ‘I know, he told me about it’. So
this little guy was proud to be positively recognized
. Very, very cool.
Next, last summer, at the very
launch of LIVE UNCOMMON
, across the street from the first LIVE UNCOMMON billboard featuring Jen Paul, was the Water Station at the START/FINISH of the Bix at 6. And what would you know? My two young friends there, handing out water. We recognized each other and I said ‘hey, MVP!’ and those pearly whites shown brilliantly. The other young man said to me, ‘hey, I’m an MVP too now!” and smiled a great smile. This Water Station was manned by a group of five elementary age kids. I investigated and learned that they were there
Back as PROJECT RENEWAL
, about which I knew nothing. I did met the Director who was standing back, quietly supervising, letting the kids do their thing. We chatted. The next week, we
presented the kids with LU gear
and explained the LU Values and how
this gear represented our salute to their decision to Give Back to the World.
A few months later, I
took the time to visit PROJECT RENEWAL
. It is a small house on Warren and 6
Streets in downtown Davenport. I was surprised to learn it has been serving the community for 38 years. I went there to meet with the Director at 2:00, but found myself still there when the kids started arriving after school. The next thing I knew, a boy was asking me to help him with his homework and I was like, ‘Um, sure, if I can, what do I have to do?’ He said ‘Time me while I read for 20 minutes.’ Okay, no problem. I went upstairs with him to the study area where one room has a little futon and chairs for reading and the next room has tables and chairs for homework doing and the low walls are lined with books. We sat down and he began reading ‘Goosebumps’. I did my Timing duty. Then he looks up and says ‘what does so-and-so mean?’ I thought he was asking me and I was preparing to answer when he hops up and walks to the bookshelf and grabs a dictionary. A dictionary. Okay, so maybe I am super out of touch because my kids are in their last year of high school and in college, but I don’t know when I last saw anyone open an actual dictionary. I realized that I, my kids, and half the World, would Google the definition. But, of course, this kid doesn’t have a phone.
He reads the definition to himself and I see him nod and understand, then he comes back and continues to read. Cool. When the Time was up, he pulls a blank sheet of paper out of his bag and pencil and begins to work - he has to write a report about what he read. Nice. He begins. Soon he says, ‘I need an eraser, ‘ and jumps up and heads to a different wall and looks through a small box of pencils. He finds one and as he walks back he is talking, to himself mostly, and this is literally what he said, ‘This is a nice pencil. I should keep this pencil. I think I’ll steal this pencil.’ Pause.
‘No, stealing is wrong.’
Later, I found out from the Director that erasers are like gold for these kids.
He wasn’t talking to me. He was simply thinking out loud. It was profound to witness. He had worked out his decision based on, what? Maybe something
he learned there at PROJECT RENEWAL
? Very possibly.
Small things. Big things.
Another thing. EVERY SINGLE kid at this house – and I’m talking LITTLE kids, like kindergarten kids – ALL OF THEM individually stood up upon my approach and reached out there small hand and said, ‘Hello, I’m so-and-so.” I couldn’t believe it. It was, they were, very, very impressive.
The kids devour the
donated to the cozy kitchen there – for a lot of them,
this is their meal for the night
They have a
they can pick something from as a reward – a
positive reinforcement thing
. The Director there says that from that Treasure Box,
it is not the toys that are selected
. It is invariably the
toothbrushes, bars of soap, wash cloths that are chosen by the kids
When we picked up these three Poster Boys for the photo shoot and presented them with their LU gear, they asked if it was made of silk. One boy said he was going to hang his LU drawstring backpack on his wall at home and just look at it – it was too nice to risk in public. Unbelievable.
We are so humbled
is an after school program would be a gross understatement and inaccurate. PROJECT RENEWAL, this little house filled with caring discipline and positive rewards,
is a Home for a few hours for kids who may not have a positive one
. It is very difficult to convey in words. Verbal description is inadequate.
It must be experienced
I was very, very moved by this visit. On my drive home to Bettendorf, a community whose Families are mostly rounded out with parents who are present and supportive, kids who benefit from three good steady meals a day and Club sports programs, I thought back to my growing up in Davenport where I competed on the basketball teams at JB Young and Central. I played side by side with the same girls for many years and I remember a teammate once remarking to me at a game where my parents and brothers sat cheering, my mom snapping pictures even then! These are the exact words I remember, as they made a strong impression on me: ‘Michelle,
you are so lucky--- your parents come to all your games!
’ I remember that this was revelation to me – I had taken this fact for granted – probably even irritated at times by their presence. Wow. Humbling. During high school play, I dropped off a uniform to a girl with whom I had played on the Court since 7
grade. Her name was Emma. I had never been to her house before and it was practically across the street from school – Central. Okay, so I go in and there was a bare mattress on the floor of the living room, no living room furniture, and at least 15 people living there. It was like three worlds away from my middle-class Life. Soooo humbling. So eye-opening. I remember it like it was yesterday. Again, wow.
so many little things I, we all, take for granted
. At LIVE UNCOMMON we impress upon our Charter Teams these
. We call attention to how truly fortunate we, they, are to have what we consider the ‘givens’ – breakfast….a parent saying ‘have a good day!’….a packed or hot lunch….someone asking ‘how was your day?’…..someone reaffirming ‘good job’…..
’I am proud of You’
serves to fill these gaps. They make a difference in the Lives of many. Forty kids or more benefit daily. They receive
Life- long benefit
we have the power to make a HUGE IMPACT
here. The RUN FOR RENEWAL Race Event is in its 7
year, but still only has about 120 runners. NOT THIS YEAR. We want to fill this Race. By doing so, we will make an enormous difference in one day.
The goal is 1,000 runners
The VUP Clubhouse will be on site feeding, watering, Gatorading all LUs in gear. Come hang. Others can donate for a plate of good food or bottle of good drink.
Team, I am personally appealing to you to come out and do your Uncommon thing.
I am asking that the Movement come out en masse --- create an impact.
Sponsor a runner to come out on Race Day.
Spread the word --- bring at least one other runner with you on Race Day.
Drop 10 bucks, 5 bucks, 1 buck into an envelope and mail it to us at the address below.
I am asking that even by Uncommon standards, we perform Uncommonly in supporting Series Event #2 – PROJECT RENEWAL. Our efforts can fund this very worthy Cause – cover all operating expenses for the next several years – in one day. Let’s do our thing.
Let’s make a difference
. Let’s change the World.
Register online at
c/o LIVE UNCOMMON
4600 E. 53
Davenport, IA 52807
Train with the Team. We want you. It's fun, everyONE's cool. You'll dig it.
© 2011 Live Uncommon