Our journeys with the members of The Running Charity can be uplifting, difficult, and often stop-start. None more so than with one of our recent graduates Montana.
In 2014, I started working with Montana at a hostel in Southwark, he always showed promise but he had a lot going on in his life and could never fully commit to our work. Montana’s relationship with us came to a sudden end when the hostel that housed over 100 vulnerable and homeless young people was shut down due to a lack of funding.
After being thrown into the chaotic world of trying to find new accommodation, Montana stopped attending any of our services until I met him again at a partner of ours in Stockwell Evolve Housing and Support.
We spoke at length, and with a greater level of stability in his life, discussed how our sessions could focus him on where he wanted to go. Montana was apologetic and told me that he felt bad for not taking advantage of the programme the first-time around and was determined to make a real go of it this time.
It was important for Montana to realise that he had nothing to be apologetic for. At The Running Charity we work with an open door non-judgmental policy. Our members can go through so many chaotic moments in their lives and it’s important for them to know we will be a consistent and reliable presence in their life.
Montana started to attend my sessions and with every session his focus grew and his fitness levels improved. He enjoyed me pushing him further, thrived in setting and achieving his goals. His fitness is so good now he put me and a few other very committed runners to shame when he finished a parkrun in 19 minutes – finishing in 16th place and I may add with a rucksack for the first two laps!
His key worker fed back that his new-found confidence was like working with a whole different person. Montana took advantage of all the incredible services that Evolve and its staff team have to really help move young people out of homelessness.
The incredible team at Evolve has also made a short film on Montana and how far he has progressed. It was directed by Lionel Gwasaze.
When we graduate people at The Running Charity it is such an important time to reflect about the ups and downs of that journey. The thing that really sticks out to me on a personal level is the importance of being understanding of where people are at in their lives and always being there for our members.
The other, is the importance of great partners. The Running Charity is so proud to work with Evolve Housing and Support, I can’t speak highly enough of the staff there.
Enjoy the film.