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Marathon Man?

Wed, Apr 18, 2012

Jim LoBianco

On Sunday October 27, I will be running the Chicago Marathon. I have two motivating factors to help me persevere in my goal. The first is that I am turning 40 and, as many people before me have, I want to mark that milestone birthday with a personal accomplishment. While setting a personal goal is nice, I am also lucky to have a significant external motivator pushing me forward.

I recently joined the marathon team of a great charity, one I am incredibly excited to support, Back on My Feet (BOMF). [See this week’s cover story on page 10 for a detailed look at BOMF and how it helps motivate homeless men and women.] I have no doubt that running for a cause I believe so strongly in (helping the homeless), combined with my personal goal, will give me the focus and energy to put 26.2 miles behind me as I cross the finish line.

I first heard about BOMF while I was heading the Office of Homeless Services for the City of Chicago. A friend and avid runner had heard an interview with the agency’s founder, Ann Mahlum, and recommended I check it out. I was immediately impressed by Ann’s vision for activating the inner drive of homeless men and women through the sport of running and I couldn’t have been happier when I learned that BOMF was opening a Chicago chapter.

About the same time that BOMF started operating in Chicago I started working for StreetWise and this is where things started to click. Here is an excerpt from the BOMF website. “[BOMF] is dedicated to creating independence and self-sufficiency within the homeless and other underserved populations by first engaging them in running as a means to build confidence, strength and self-esteem.” Here is an explanation of the StreetWise: “The StreetWise model combines supportive social services, (focused on employment training; housing placement; and financial literacy) with the opportunity for gainful self-employment, in order to assist participants on the road to stability and self-sufficiency.” Self-sufficiency, stability, motivation, and self-confidence; these traits are core to mission, vision and goals of both organizations.

I am excited to join the BOMF team, both as an individual and as a representative of StreetWise. It is clear to me that our two organizations are in alignment when it comes to motivating men and women in a way that touches their inner strength and increases their personal dignity.

You can help me in my quest to make my marathon run more meaningful. As a member of the BOMF marathon team I am raising money to support the services that BOMF provides. I do this because supporting the work of BOMF is an extension of my work for StreetWise, especially since BOMF is recruiting StreetWise participants to join the team and thus benefit from their supportive services as well.

Please visit my fundraising website by clicking


and consider making a donation. Your generosity will help motivate me as I help motivate others.

By Jim LoBianco
StreetWise Executive Director

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and suggestions. You are welcome to contact me at either jlobianco@streetwise.org or (773) 334-6600 (ext. 22).


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