At 5:45 a.m., on a Friday morning, a group of about 20 homeless guys warmed up in a parking lot in East Harlem. In a circle, they did jumping jacks, twisted their torsos and touched their toes, and then huddled up, they chanted the Serenity Prayer (“God give me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change…”) and took off running. They ran with Back On My Feet, a program started by social entrepreneur Anne Mahlum, that uses “running to help the homeless get their lives back on track. In addition to connecting participants with housing and jobs, Back On My Feet was founded on the notion that running can change a person’s self-image…and provides an outlet for pent-up emotions,” — it has made awe-inspiring tangible changes in the lives of those participating.
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