Run Free Texas is a running program designed to positively impact the lives of our community’s youth by promoting physical and mental wellness.
Thank you for your interest in our cause!
Our running program was developed to provide at-risk youth with the second chance that everyone deserves. Our innovative approach to working with troubled youth integrates physical and mental health aspects with outcomes based on the 40 Developmental Assets identified by the Search Institute.
Run Free Texas is expanding!
Run Free Texas is excited to be growing our program in Round Rock Independent School District in the fall of 2017. We provide a running program that is designed to positively impact the lives of our community’s youth. Our program will introduce students to the physical and mental health benefits of being physically active, teach them life skills, and build a support system around them in order for them to succeed in our community. Over the course of 12 weeks, select students in fourth and fifth grade participate in a supportive and fun after-school program designed to teach them the benefits of being physically active and introduce positive habits that lead to healthy life choices. Throughout the program, students explore daily challenges and discuss how their own actions and thoughts can influence their own outcomes. Students learn new skills and strategies to help them navigate life experiences.
Run Free Texas promotes and models positive emotional support in a challenging yet fun environment that empowers students, builds confidence, fosters an attitude of achievment, and instills the belief that anything is possible when we put our minds to it.
See What We’re All About
Run Free Texas was founded based on solid principles and a vision to serve the youth and families of our community.
A Change Is Needed
According to the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD), a total of 86,548 formal referrals were made to juvenile probation departments throughout the state of Texas in 2010. The data points out that 52% of that number had previous referrals to the department; to be specific, 46% of those had more than 3 prior referrals.
Run Free Texas instills values, builds life skills, and develops accountability within our community’s youth through physical fitness. By surrounding youth in need with positive role models, we challenge them to discover their self-worth, make better life choices, and strengthen their family, school, and community relationships.
Throughout our first year in 2013, we had 18 successful program completions. One year after completing the program, only one youth had reoffended. This proves the efficacy of our program and is the first step toward our goal to help lower the overall recidivism rate within the juvenile justice system in Texas.
Community-based prevention and intervention programs need to be strengthened and reinforced in order to better serve at-risk youth and lower the recidivism rate. Our integrative healthcare approach focuses on teaching youth how to become healthy, self-sufficient, contributing members of our community, with the superordinate goal of lowering adolescent involvement in the justice system.
- We at Run Free Texas will …
- Be your running family,
- Help you improve your life,
- Introduce you to new experiences,
- Challenge you,
- Push you past your comfort zone,
- Hold you accountable,
- Build a support system around you,
- Expose you to different walks of life,
- Encourage you,
- And most importantly …
- Be your biggest fans and supporters!
Run Free Texas began with the passion and dream of two former juvenile probation officers to make a difference in the lives of youth who often seem forgotten by society. Run Free Texas is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization offering a 12-week running/walking program to at-risk youth who are faced with deteriorating family structure, gang activity, criminal activity, violence in schools, peer pressure, bullying, substance abuse issues, and other social challenges.
The founder of Run Free Texas came across an article in Runner’s World outlining the success of a running program which was implemented in a women’s prison in Kansas. The article explained how the running program helped lower the recidivism rate of the participants and improved their overall physical and mental health. Through collaboration with the founders of Running Free and Running Free Alaska, additional research, and their combined experience within the juvenile justice system working with at-risk populations, these two women refined the idea and concept of Run Free Texas. In October 2012, the inaugural program served the Williamson County Juvenile Justice Department. The program then expanded to the Williamson County residential facility, the Cedar Park Justice of the Peace Court, and several Round Rock ISD elementary schools.
Throughout the 12-week program, motivational speakers such as high school coaches, local athletes, and successful entrepreneurs are invited to come speak to the youth and their families about goal setting, failure, and healthy habits. Group participants complete the program through their participation in a nonprofit community race, which helps diminish the negative stigma attached to at-risk youth and their involvement with the law while leaving the youth with a sense of accomplishment.