High School students who have soared in the SOAR program (Students Off And Running) will be honored by County Supervisor Michael Antonovich on Tuesday with a certificate and a check for $250.
The local non-profit organization takes students at risk of not graduating and gets them training for the Los Angeles Marathon. SOAR is part of the Santa Clarita Track Club and their President Alan Bingham says the kids start with one mile and work their way up, overcoming challenges just like in life:
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“You know, life is like a marathon. You start off with small things and you have to move on to bigger things to get through it,” said Bingham.
This is the fourth year for the program and so far they’ve had 52 students complete the marathon.
SOAR recruits students from Golden Valley High School and the Academy of the Canyons based upon recommendations from counselors.
Getting the students running brings physical changes to their bodies, but Bingham says how it changes their mindset is invaluable in keeping them pointed towards high school graduation.
“The discipline and the goal setting is, I think, what the program stresses to them and what they really seem to pick up on and what really turns around their behavior. They can accomplish anything by setting the goals,” Bingham said.
Certainly, discipline was in order for an LA Marathon that would have made Noah proud.
“This year’s LA marathon was extremely challenging. A lot of people didn’t complete this year because of the rain. I’d never seen it rain so hard in Los Angeles. And it was just pouring,” Bingham said.
And yet, nearly all of the 20 participants they had in the program this year showed up for race day. But for Bingham it isn’t just about showing up at the starting line.
“These kids, they went out and they all ran it. Every one of our kids who started finished and it just goes to show their character.”
Bingham says it cost around $1,000 to sponsor an athlete.
SOAR students along with Bingham, Director Kevin Sarkissian, and other teachers and coaches will visit Antonovich in his Los Angeles office.
If you would like to know more about the program and donate click here.