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This blog post was submitted by  Sana Haque, Resource Specialist & Commonwealth Corps Member 

I enjoy serving as the Resource Specialist at School on Wheels of Massachusetts (SOWMA) where I design skill development activities and theme-based projects for our students. My responsibilities pertain to the increased use of the educational resources at SOWMA’s tutoring sites in Massachusetts. The activities I design provide the tutors with suggested activities, following the Common Core and MA State educational standards, which they can work on with their students using the resources available. 

Our friend, Tony, sent this note to us  - “ Is the course the over grass, dirt and rocks or is it on tar/paved pathway? Either way is fine, and the off-road is actually very easy on the joints, but I wanted to let my group know ahead so that for safety we don’t show up in road flats, zero drops or minimalist shoes with no stability or cushioning.” Great Question, Tony - Here is more information on the Outrunning Homelessness Race and Walk Courses.

The Outrunning Homelessness 5K (3.10 miles) will begin at the Ames Mansion of DCR’s Borderland State Park. 

The course is a loop consisting of mixed flat and hills. The trail is unpaved. There will be dirt and  some rocky patches.

Outrunning Homelessness Course TerrainRace Course  - - Click to View Larger Image

The Outrunning Homelessness 2.6 mile family fun walk will begin at Ames Mansion of DCR’s Borderland State Park. 

The course is a loop, mostly flat, of unpaved trails. The ground will be dirt with some rocks.

Outrunning Homelessness Walk CourseWalk Course - - Click to View Larger Image

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parkingParking is limited, please carpool if possible.

- from an article by Cheryl Opper recently published in Huff Post Impact.

What I couldn't have imagined at the time was the impact receiving that new backpack would have on Will's life. Having suffered through his family's eviction from their apartment and living in a single room with little personal space and no privacy, the 14-year-old carried a huge burden he wasn't comfortable sharing with even his closest friends. "On the outside I looked like I was the same," he said, "but on the inside I was really hurting because I felt like I had lost everything."

Now, to some children, a new backpack and some school supplies might not be a big deal. But to Will, they were a life-changing gift which caused him to think seriously about his future. "If someone I don't even know cares about my education, I better start caring about it, too," he recalls thinking. 

Please read the entire article in Huff Post Impact

Ikea Stoughton recently delivered hundreds of soft toys to the School on Wheels of Massachusetts operation center to be included in our Holiday Learning Boxes.  SOWMA delivers over 500 boxes, filled with books, markers, folders and more to children living in shelters and motels in our communities.

The following is a heart-felt submission by Laura Alves, Local Marketing Manager, Ikea Stoughton.

Tonight there will be over 4,000 families sleeping in shelters and motels in Massachusetts. The number of homeless families continues to grow rapidly; sadly, the average age of a homeless person in our state is 8 years old. Children impacted by homelessness are invisible students in the classroom, falling further and further behind their peers in school and in life. With your support, we are changing that! We are staying with children for long periods of time and helping them find success in school and beyond.

I first met Will when he was 14 years old and living at the Super 8 Motel in Brockton with his mom and family. It was August 2006, and I was dropping off backpacks to the children in the motels. Will said, he remembers this lady pulling up to the motel and getting out of her car with lots of new backpacks. He wondered why someone he didn’t even know would give him a backpack filled with school supplies, including the calculator he needed for high school.

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