Youth Run NOLA (YRN) emerged in 2010 when a dedicated group of educators embarked on an inspiring journey, lacing up their sneakers and running alongside their students after the school bell rang. Over the years, this humble initiative has blossomed into a dynamic, community-rooted non-profit that collaboratively engages with hundreds of youth and families each year.
While YRN has grown, our essence remains firmly rooted in our grassroots origins. Our community-driven spirit drives us, serving as the lifeblood of our operations. We are steadfast in our commitment to empowering young individuals through the unifying power of running.
Since our inception in 2010, Youth Run NOLA has left an indelible mark on our community. We've run and walked alongside more than 5,000 area youth, igniting a passion for fitness and personal growth. What began as a volunteer-driven initiative has blossomed into a sustainable, staffed non-profit, expanding our reach and impact. We've provided comprehensive training, enabling 270 youth to achieve the monumental milestone of finishing a half marathon. Our dedication to alumni is unwavering; we've proudly employed 17 alumni as paid part-time staff members, empowering them to shape and lead our programs. Our community is our strength. We've rallied over 600 dedicated members, who have generously contributed more than 44,000 volunteer hours, exemplifying the power of collective action.
Many youth across the Greater New Orleans region lack consistent exposure and access to healthy-living opportunities at home, at school, or in their neighborhood and community. Gaps in healthy habits throughout youth can result in long-term physical and mental health problems. Due to systemic inequity in health opportunity, these significantly impact lower-income communities and communities of color.
By partnering with schools and community sites, we support youth in developing healthy habits for life through distance running. We understand that physical activity is just one piece of the puzzle; we also recognize the extended benefits that come from building healthy relationships within a supportive peer network, nurturing mental well-being, and cultivating goal-setting skills with positive role models.
Through continuous participation in Youth Run NOLA year after year, our youth embark on a journey to achieve their individual goals, guided by a community of supportive adults and peers. Running with us transcends the track; it becomes a powerful metaphor for reaching personal milestones and leading a vibrant, healthy community. We wholeheartedly believe that the next generation will not only run this city but also shape it into a brighter future.
Youth Run NOLA (YRN) is a locally grown, sports-based youth development non-profit dedicated to making joyful and accessible the joys of walking, running, and movement for 8-18-year-olds across St. Bernard, Orleans, and Jefferson Parishes. Our non-competitive, free program, guided by a diverse team of teacher-coaches, family, and community members, empowers youth, many of whom have little or no prior running experience, to embrace healthy choices.
Through rigorous school-based practices, encompassing sprint and distance workouts, anatomy, running literacy, team-building, and reflection, our youth develop endurance, self-belief, and a sense of limitless possibilities. Monthly community races, spanning 5k, 10k, and half marathon distances, bring the YRN family together to celebrate progress while having an epic amount of fun, both on the running route and in life.