New Yorker Of The Week: Anne Mahlum Helps The Homeless Get Back On Their Feet
This week's New Yorker of the Week understands the power of running – and is using it to transform the lives of homeless New Yorkers. John Schiumo filed the following report.
To view our videos, you need to
install Adobe Flash 9 or above. Install now.
Then come back here and refresh the page.
Craig Hall is a big fan of Anne Mahlum.
"All this started when Anne said to me one day, 'You know Craig, life is like a marathon; it doesn't matter when you start getting back on your feet, as long as you get back on your feet.' So that spark never really died in her."
That spark, for Mahlum, came while she was doing what she loves: going for a run.
"I had been running by a homeless shelter and I began talking to the guys on the corner," she recalls. "Here I am running by these guys, moving my life forward physically, emotionally and spiritually, and I'm leaving them in the exact same spot – so why don't I run with them?"
That's why Anne created "Back On My Feet," a non-profit organization aimed at changing the lives of homeless people with a simple formula of running and support.
"I laughed at the idea of homeless people running," Hall says. "I couldn't conceive the idea. But I figured this was a good way to get out and get some air. One morning the sunlight hit the city, and it was like an inspiration."
"We are all seeking someone to notice us, someone to give us credit and make us feel good for the effort we are putting in," Mahlum says. "That's what we all look for in our jobs, in our relationships, and these guys didn't have that."
For Mahlum, running is a healthy addition – born of a destructive habit. Her father's gambling took a toll on her family.
"My life was perfect one day, and all of a sudden that happened and it was complete chaos," she says. "So running really helped me find my focus, my discipline."
That road taught her valuable lessons.
"You have to be an honest runner," she says. "You can't get to mile five if you are not going to do one through four. And it teaches you that you have to approach life in that same regard. So I just think that it has a lot of relevancy to being successful in life."
And so for helping to get homeless New Yorkers back on their feet, Anne Mahlum is our New Yorker of the Week.