Running, charity and all that laces them together.

Running, charity and all that laces them together.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Brooke in the News by heather m.

Check out this Washington Post article about Brooke and the runningbrooke Fund:

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Zoom, Zoom . . . Zumba!!!!!!! by heather m.

On Sunday January , Brooke Curran skipped running for the day (Yes, really!) and hosted a Zumba Explosion at the Carlyle Club in Alexandria. 

     Okay, I'm a spoilsport. No, I didn't Zumba. My newest podiatrist said I couldn't, but she did, and she told me she had so much fun doing it!! Brooke, my podiatrist, and more than 90 other participants Zumba'd (Is that a verb?) through two classes led by the ladies of X-Factor Fitness.  (Drop by their website and sign up for one of their classes. You'll have a great time and sweat a lot too!)
Kaesha Matthews, Brooke, Mayor Euilee, Zabrime Watson, Geneza Simoes, and Jeanine Bennis

Brooke put together this event with Arlene Hewitt, an Associate at the Carlyle Club. For one fun-filled night in January, about 100 ladies (and two gentleman too!) danced their hearts out under the Carlyle club's funky disco ball! Thanks for your help Arlene!!! 

     Mayor Euille was one of the two gentleman who attended the event. He purchased some tickets for the silent auction, but I'm not really sure he Zumba'd. (He looked pretty good in his athletic clothes though. Thanks for the effort Mayor Euille!
Brooke and Mayor Euille

     Dave Lucchesi also came by with his wife, and I know for a fact that he did Zumba!! Dave's wife, Liz, was a major sponsor of the "Explosion." We're so glad that Liz convinced her hubby to join in the fun!! Dave was glad too. “The closest I ever came to Zumba was watching a video on YouTube before I came here,” Lucchesi said during a break in the action. "This has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience." 

Elizabeth and Dave Lucchesi at a break during the Zumba Explosion.

     And fun they had . . .  There was plenty of rhythm in the Carlyle Club that night. So sorry I couldn't join them. Like I said, I'm a spoil sport, LOL. Proceeds from the event totaled $5,740 which the RunningBrooke Fund will pass on to Alexandria's needy children and families. Now that's what I call sweat equity!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

My Cheat Sheet on the Reading Connection by Heather M.

      The Reading Connection (TRC) was founded in 1989 by a group of educators as a service project of the Greater Washington Reading Council. Volunteers first began reading with children in a small emergency shelter located in Arlington, Virginia. This program eventually blossomed into TRC's Read-Aloud program.  TRC incorporated as a 501(c)(3) organization in 1992 and now reaches 12 shelters and transitional housing sites in Arlington, Alexandria, and Washington, D.C. The Reading Connection also provides literacy advocates trainings, reading families workshops, and the Book Club to over 10 partner agencies.

     For twenty years "the Reading Connection has been reading with kids who have no one else to read to them and giving books to kids who had none." Research has shown that reading aloud to children "is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for eventual success in reading." (from Becoming a Nation of Readers, 1985) 

     TRC has a mission to improve the lives of at-risk children and families by helping them create and sustain literacy-rich environments and motivation for reading, and it accomplishes its mission through four different programs:

1. The Read-Aloud Program - In the Read Aloud Program, volunteers read great books selected to support a theme like "onomatopoeia, or superheroes or cats and dogs." The kids and adults then talk about the book and work on an activity related to the book's theme. Then the best part comes - each  week, the kids pick a book for their own.

A typical TRC Read-Aloud event with lots of eager listeners!

2. The Book Club - The Book Club encourages families to read by sending new, age-appropriate books through the mail to clients of partner social service agencies. Clients chose the books they prefer from age-appropriate, language and culturally-appropriate selections. To these clients, books for their children are a luxury. Each book comes with tips for talking about the book after parents have read it with their child. The Book Club sends 800 children 4,100 books per year.

3. Reading Families Workshops - TRC holds workshops conducted in English and Spanish where moms and dads sit with their children as books are read to them. The parents get to share the experience of hearing a new story and seeing all the illustrations. After the reading, each family receives a copy of 
the book they've just heard, and three others to add to their home library.

Parents and children at a Reading Families Workshop.

4. Literacy Advocates Trainings - During these training sessions, TRC introduces the staff of partner social service agencies to the importance of reading aloud. The trainers demonstrate how the staff can model better reading habits during home visits and how the staff can further develop their literacy programs.

     Over the years, TRC's reach has grown to over 1,300 kids who receive 9,000 new books each year. TRC has a professional staff of only five, and they can only accomplish their mission with the help of 180 volunteers and the donations it receives from various individuals and businesses. In 2011, it received $16,000 in individual donations, surpassing its goal of $15,000. As part of its ongoing effort to aid Alexandria's disadvantaged families and children, the runningbrooke fund contributes  annually to the Reading Connection

Brooke presenting a check to Courtney Kissell, Executive Director of TRC

A few final photos of Brooke volunteering at TRC and some of the beautiful children at one of their Read Aloud events:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Zumba Explosion by Brooke

       Come on out and join Brooke Curran of the RunningBrooke Fund at the Carlyle Club on January 29th, 4PM - 8PM for a Zumba Explosion to benefit ACTion Alexandria, Child and Family Network Centers, Community Lodgings, Girls on the Run & The Reading Connection!

Rehoboth Beach Roundup by Brooke

Keeping warm before the Girls on the Run 5K.

Dear Friends and Family-With the holidays here, you reflect on the things which make you grateful, but sometimes search for that something larger...that bond or connection with others and the chance to make a difference. As you know, The runningbrooke Fund is all about giving our at-risk neighbors the education and life-skills needed for independence.  Since May of 2009, we(you and I) have raised and donated over $90,000.00 and helped hundreds realize their dream. You're awesome

*Thank you to ALL that have made this happen.  Each time you give, a child's life is changed. If you haven't had a chance to donate this year, here are the top five reasons to give to The runningbrooke Fund:
  1. 100% of your donation goes to 5 proven Alexandria, VA-based charities.  These charities arm our at-risk neighbors with a pre-school education/high school tutoring, job training, social services and much more.   
  2. Your gift is 100% tax deductible.  Get that much-needed end-of-the-year tax credit.  ACT for Alexandria will send a receipt for your tax purposes.
  3. While we've raised $41,000 so far this year (as of 9/30), we have 9K left to meet our 2011 goal.  Can you help?  9K equals 18,000 new books to kids that have none (no kidding).  
  4. Donate $250+ before 11:59 PM on December 31st, and receive 2 free tickets to the Zumba Explosion event-of-the-year (1/29/12 -- see side bar for event details), major recognition and some cool runningbrooke paraphernalia! 
  5. People feel happier when they give.  79% of Americans agreed that they'd rather get a gift in their honor than receive a gift they can't use.  4 in 5 Americans agree that helping someone less fortunate is part of their holiday tradition.  Make it yours too... (American Red Cross website) 
Click HERE to donate now.  Thank you, thank you.**Let's stay connected.  Join me on a run or come for a site visit and see who we are helping first hand.  Check out the website -- it's better than ever.  Follow me on Twitter (@runnerbrooke) or like my page on Facebook.

MT/Guest House
A runningbrooke grant buys toiletries for women reentering
the community.

** RunningBrooke Announcements **

1.  I'm excited to join the Allergy & Asthma Network, Mothers of Asthmatics(AANMA) Board of Directors.  AANMA is a national nonprofit patient education and advocacy organization that provides consumer-friendly information about asthma and allergies.  Many of you may remember our work together at Asthma Awareness Day on Capitol Hill last Spring.  

2.  Zumba Explosion 2012 --  a runningbrooke fundraiser.  Dance off those holiday pounds and keep your New Year's resolution!  Join Alexandria's ownrunningbrooke and five Zumba instructors from X-Factor Fitness (for personal attention and questions) for a rockin' time.

A fun-filled Sunday afternoon (NO football -- this is the weekend in between the Play-Offs and Superbowl) for everyone.  Bring your friends and learn something new.  Get the details HERE!  

*Special MC, Maureen Bunyan ABC7/WJLA-TV. 

**All proceeds benefit Alexandria charities**  

3.  Antarctica Countdown.  T minus 76 days!  The Antarctica Marathon race director emailed this to me the other day...  **"Your Antarctica adventure is less than 90 days away. Please review the following..." -- and then he said:
"You are traveling to the coldest, iciest, windiest and most remote corner of the planet and a most inhospitable location for a running event."

4. Evening in the Heart of Alexandria Video.  Thanks again Volunteer Alexandria for the honor and recognition!    

Brooke Curran, 2011 Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Awardee
Brooke Curran, 2011 Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Awardee

and now, without further ado: 

The Rehoboth Beach, DE Marathon
(12/10/11 -- state #31, marathon #42)

Footprints leading to the Atlantic Ocean - photo by Paula Jean L. from ME

Delaware is the second smallest state in the Union -- only Rhode Island is smaller -- and is the lowest lying state -- it is flat! -- with the average elevation of only 60 feet. Located in the eastern section of the Delmarva Peninsula, between the Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay, Delaware is a straight shot from the DC beltway (home base).  No planes, no layovers, and took the regular-sized toothpaste -- small pleasures make me happy.Once over the Bay Bridge, we passed through miles and miles of farmland and then mostly closed-for-the-season fruit and vegetable stands.  Delaware grows a variety of fruits and vegetables and is a U.S. pioneer in the food-canning industry. Corn, soybeans, potatoes, and hay are significant crops, and Delaware's broiler-chicken farms satisfy the consumer chicken demand for big Eastern markets.  Fishing and dairy play an important role too. 

Random DE factoids in random order:

Scenic town water tower

Factoid #1:  English ship captain Samuel Angall named the river and bay separating Delaware and New Jersey after the governor of the English Colony, Lord De La Warr.  Delaware takes it name from that river and bay and became our first state in 1787. 

Factoid #2:  The state bird is the blue hen chicken and the official state bug is ladybug. 

Factoid #3:  Since 1950, the spotlight at the annual Delmarva Chicken Festival has been a 10' (in diameter) frying pan that holds 180 gallons of oil and fries 800 chicken quarters at a time.Factoid #4:  DuPont -- maker of chemicals and pharmaceuticals -- is Delaware's second largest employer (second only the Delaware state government).

The Good

Near Rehoboth Beach, DE -- photo by Paula Jean L. from ME

Rehoboth Beach and the Marathon.  Though very quiet in December, it was easy to imagine sunburned families eating ice cream while strolling on the wooden boardwalk.  The main avenue is built and ready for the summer vacationers.  But in December, it's cold -- about 35 or 40 degrees -- and perfect marathon weather!  There were more runners than I had expected as we gathered around the bandstand for the 7 AM race start.  I looked for people whom I knew were there too -- friends from Pacers Running Stores in Alexandria, Paula from ME, Dave and his wife from MA, Jane from Alexandria, VA, and Frank from Arlington, VA.  Ken and Kath from FL rode with me after flying into Reagan National.  I didn't see anyone, then heard "Brooke!"  It was Frank -- we are friends on Facebook but have never met.  Frank is an athlete of heroic proportions whose workouts often include running with logs and/or tractor tires on his back.  Wow.  It was 26.2 miles of laughter hearing his crazy stories.  In addition to the camaraderie, it was a beautiful day for a run.  The course is scenic -- through quiet towns, along sandy wind-swept roads and through silent parkland.  At about mile 20, I connected with two of the Pacers' Running Store ladies -- one of whom was trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon and needed to run a sub 3:40.  I was supposed to run with her the whole way, but we didn't connect at the start...  I was lucky to find her and run the last five miles together. Way to qualify Heather! 

The Bad 
(that turned good) 

The Speeding Ticket.  I've been a little unlucky in this department recently but that day, the gods were smiling, and I got off with a warning! 

No description necessary.

The Ugly (no ugly, sorry...)

RunningBrooke Sponsor Highlight

Mark G. Anderson Consultants (MGAC).  Mark and his team are ready to manage the complexities of any design and construction program -- locally, nationally, internationally -- with precision, capability and focus.  They provide project management services to a diverse group of unique clients.  Ever been to the International Spy Musuem in Washington DC?  Yep, that's MGAC.

Happy holidays to you and your family -- see you in the New Year!


Near Rehoboth Beach, DE -- photo by Paula Jean L. from ME.

Back in Alexandria and with Kath and Ken from FL.