While studying Early Childhood Education at Oklahoma State University (GO POKES) I began running 1 mile daily to help keep the freshmen 15 off. After doing that routine for about two years I decided that I wanted to run a race. The race that I found was a 4 mile run. I trained about eight weeks for that race. That race day was a start to a whole new adventure. I fell in love with running! Training started taking place. I ran more and raced several more races. By November 2010 I had worked my way up to my first half marathon. Shortly after the half marathon graduation arrived in December.
My colleagues and I were off to face our new reality of becoming classroom teachers. I quickly became accustom to hearing stories and seeing schools that wanted to do so much more for their students. Teachers wanted manipulatives, they craved the resources and they begged to receive help to obtain these things for their students. With strained administration and budgets that have been stretched these pleas often fall to people with their hands tied.
That is when I started thinking how I could help make a difference. As a teacher it is my job to advance each of the students in my class, however I wanted to do more. Another wonderful thing Oklahoma State taught me was how to become an advocate for all students, not just those in my class. The staggering effects I heard about and saw taking place with students that did not have the privilege of math manipulatives is what encouraged me to try to make a difference. These students fall dramatically behind their peers’ and they begin to build hatred towards math.
Once I started thinking about how I could make a difference I thought what if I could get sponsorships and donations for a race that would take a lot of work and endurance. I could do what I love while obtaining the financial side of what we need, so that we could provide math manipulatives to students. Up to this point, like I said I had ran different races ranging from a 5K to a half marathon. After much heart pulling debate I decided I would run my first full marathon in hopes of raising $2,500 for math manipulatives for students who were in kindergarten through third grade at my school.
Endurance for Education started as one project yet its future was unknown. After great success from the first project I decided we had to continue to make an impact in students’ lives. That is when the second project came into existence.
Project One: Marathon for Math Manipulatives
The project started by first proposing it to administration. I investigated our curriculum to see what math manipulatives we would need, searched how much the items would cost and brainstormed how we could get the students involved. I had already started my training and was doing a few races to mix the training up.
The students were getting excited. Teachers were being supportive. And I was enjoying every bit of it! There were some funny stories that came from this experience. Although I have to say "Every Penny Counts" was the best! We also were able to put on a 1 mile fun run which was the first for many students!
As I enjoyed the experience there was also a lot of hard work going on as well. I managed to make it through my 18 miler, 20 miler and 22 miler training runs! However, I had hard days where I dropped a can of chicken on my toe or where I had to remind myself "Break to Build." As more and more people started to hear about what we were doing they wanted to know more. Glenpool Post and Tulsa Running Club did a write up, I was a guest blogger and Channel 8 News interviewed me.
The marathon got closer and closer as I received little encouragements from students. The marathon was such a great experience that I had to write a part 1 and part 2 to cover the whole story! You can see pictures here. It was great to see the students perspective on the whole project after wards.
Through this project we were able to raise $1400 for math manipulatives! You can check out all the things we were able to purchase here.
Project Two: 30 Minute Daily Activity Challenge
This project is currently underway. Read all about it and what is going on here.