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Adidas Helps Students Sprint toward Success

Posted on January 4, 2019 by admin  |  Share

Pilot Initiative Partners with Catholic Charities

By Juan I. Rosa, Catholic Charities Community School Director

Catholic Charities NY teamed up with Adidas and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York to bring an early morning running club for students of the George Washington Educational Campus. Catholic Charities is the lead community-based organization partner of two schools on the campus, the High School for Media and Communications and the High School for Health Careers and Sciences, struggling schools located in the low-income neighborhood of Washington Heights. 

Catholic Charities staff members work hand-in-hand with administrators, teachers, support staff and other community-based organizations in these schools to eliminate barriers to student success by addressing the issues outside the classroom that prevent students from performing at their best in the classroom. 

Part of Catholic Charities’ work includes marshaling resources and initiatives to address students’ physical and socio-emotional health. This early morning running club, which has been meeting since September, is an example of these efforts. 

“At first I thought it would be easy to do these activities but after a while the activities got harder,” said High School for Media and Communications student Xavier C., 17. “The Adidas Running Club has taught me to keep pushing and encourage myself and my peers.”

Students meet their mentors at 7 am on Mondays and Wednesdays.  During the sessions- held in the sports field or indoors in the gymnasium depending on temperatures and weather conditions- students do warm-up drills, run, learn strategies for maintaining their energy during runs and meet with their mentors for small group or individual discussions.

The lessons are prepared by Adidas and are designed to offer running, strength and soft skills coaching. Students learn about their bodies and how to strategically marshal their energy while running.  On Fridays they meet their coach and activity specialist at 7am to practice the skills and strategies they learned Mondays and Wednesdays.

Mentorship is a built-in feature of the program. Mentors are drawn from the Adidas Runners community and include young professionals in the areas of accounting, graphic design, education, photography, healthcare, human resources and music management, among others. Mentors routinely talk to students about the importance of goal-setting and of being consistent in pursuit of those goals. They draw on analogies from their time running together on the field or in the gym to encourage students to keep working on their goals. 

“Participating in the running club is teaching me important things and preparing me for my future,” said Feila D., 16, another High School for Media and Communications student. “I really like interacting with the mentors and how nicely they treat us.”

Community service is another built-in feature of the program. This holiday season students decided to start a canned food drive to collect donations to give to needy families. Students divided their work in committees: an art committee to make promotional materials to spread the word about the effort, a logistics committee to coordinate collection of the donations and a leadership committee tasked with being the face of the project. The students will give the donations to a non-profit of their choice before the Holidays break.  

Adidas Beyond- as the program is called- is a pilot initiative from Adidas. Our program is one of three around the city; the two others are based in Brooklyn schools. Adidas plans to expand the initiative to schools in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Miami. We are excited to be collaborating to ensure the success of the first wave of Adidas Beyond schools and are working in conjunction with our school partners to translate the lessons the students are learning on the track to their academic career.     

“I feel very good participating in the Adidas Running Club,” said High School for Media and Communications student Robert B., 17, “because it is helping us get ready for the future and stay healthy at the same time.”