On October 12, 2014 I'll be running the Chicago Marathon, and my motivation to make it to the finish line again this year is the fact that I'm running to benefit Taller de José, a community resource center in Little Village, Chicago. I've been accompanying clients at Taller de José since August 2011, and the mission has become very near and dear to my heart. Will you accompany me along the journey to run for those I serve?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

20 reasons for 20 miles

I'm preparing to run 20 miles tomorrow, the longest run of the training season! To add an extra little motivation to my running, I decided to give 20 reasons why I'm running for Taller de José:

I'm running in honor of...

  1. Julieta, an elderly client who feels isolated and alone and looks forward to the time with her Taller de José compañeras as much-needed opportunities for companionship.
  2. Our generous volunteer compañera(o)s who collectively donate almost 170 hours of their time to Taller de José each week
  3. Antonio and his colleagues who came to Taller de José because they sought to accompany one another, working collectively to improve the working conditions at their job. 
  4. Raul, who relies on the support of the compañera at Taller de José to help him navigate the complex health care system and financial assistance programs at the hospital. 
  5. Our partnering organizations who work together with Taller de José to provide legal representation,  medical services, counseling, financial assistance, and much more to individuals in need. 
  6. Ariel, who reached out to Taller de José for help finding GED classes; now that her children have graduated from high school and been accepted into college, she was inspired by their achievements and now has time to pursue her own education and career goals. 
  7. Fernando, who with the help of his compañero from Taller de José, studied for and passed his citizenship test and has now been sworn in as a new citizen of the United States. 
  8. The Congregation of St. Joseph, whose continued support enabled Taller de José to open its doors and then to grow by leaps and bounds in the past 6 years. 
  9. Daniel, who was finally able to put a troubled past behind him through the process of expunging his record, opening doors for future employment and positive contributions to his community. 
  10. Alma, who is working tirelessly to be reunited with her family and rebuild her life after experiencing severe domestic violence. 
  11. Jaime, a victim of identity theft who was afraid and confused by the notices he began receiving from collection agencies; his compañera walked with him through the process of reporting and resolving the issue, clearing his name of several thousand dollars of credit card debt. 
  12. Those who support Taller de José through their generous financial support, ensuring that we are able to continue providing our services complete free of charge. 
  13. The many friends of Taller de José who donate their time and talent to help us grow our capacity through outreach and fundraising (like the other members of Team Taller de José who are training as well!). 
  14. Susana, who sought the support of Taller de José when she was anxious about attending her doctor's appointments alone. 
  15. The staff members at Taller de José who accompany one another, supporting each other to best serve our client-companions and allow ourselves to be transformed by the experiences as well.
  16. Rogelio, an elderly neighbor who visits Taller every so often for help filling out forms or understanding the mail he receives in English. 
  17. The board members who share their expertise and insight to strengthen Taller de José as an organization and ensure that it is sustainable for as long as the need exists in the community. 
  18. Adriana, who struggles to make ends meet, but brought a warm tamale to share with her compañera, making the wait for the bus more bearable on a cold, early morning. 
  19. Our research partners from area universities who have helped us grow in our understanding of what "accompaniment" means and how it can lead to systemic change in our community. 
  20. Amanda, who was nervous about going to court, but was relieved when her compañera walked with her each step of the way as she filed for guardianship of her adult daughter with severe disabilities. 
And thank you to everyone who has accompanied me along the journey of running in honor of all these individuals (and so many more)! Here's to a safe run for everyone who will be conquering the 20 miles along with me tomorrow!

Edits: So we actually ended up running more like 20.25 due to a slight snafu in directions on the course of the 20 miler (and it went great!) So reason 20.25 that I'm running for Team Taller de José is that I really enjoy it, especially when I get to run with good friend and teammate!
At the starting line and excited to start the 20 mile run! 

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