Site Spotlight: Bonnie Rodgers

In which program is your site enrolled?
Mighty Milers

Where are you located?
Crestview Elementary – Carlisle, PA

What is your role with the program?
Site Coordinator and Physical Education and Health Teacher

What was your motivation to lead/participate in a NYRR Youth Program at your site and how has it been implemented?
I have done many of my own running programs over the years, some of which involved only girls called Go Girls Go and Sole Sisters and wanted to do a program for all of the students. As a runner myself I see the benefits myself of running on a regular basis. Last year I did the Mighty Milers during recesses only so it was hard for the students to earn enough miles for t-shirts and medals as I wasn’t always available during their recess time. This year I offered an after-school program and had so many kids sign up that I had to limit it to 65 and put the others on a waiting list. This was because in the winter the gym is being used by an after school care program and the only space available was the hallways to run so it would have been hard to accommodate any more students.

How have your students responded to the program and what are their favorite component?
The students can’t wait until Tuesdays for Mighty Milers. Some have begged me to have it more times per week. One asked if I could skip my lunch time and come out to punch their mileage cards. (I have been known to do that many times.) They love running with friends and teachers, they tell me it is making them ready to play on their other sports’ teams, they say that running is fun and keeps their hearts and lungs healthy.

Share an inspiring quote from a student or parent?
My favorite quote was from one of my very competitive, athletic girls. I asked the kids what they had learned from Mighty Milers and she said, “You don’t have to always be first!”

What do you believe are the biggest benefits of your program and the importance them?
The biggest benefit is that the kids are MOVING and HAVING FUN!! As the obesity rate keeps rising in the U.S. it is great to have a free program that kids literally come running to sign up for. They are realizing as young as first grade that this is their body and they need to take care of it. A quote I use is, “If you don’t take care of your body, where are you going to live?”

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
As a high school athlete and then a Division 1 college athlete I always liked to run when the coach would make us but track or cross country was never the sport I chose. When I gained the freshman 15 as a college freshman and my grandma told me that I was looking a little larger I knew that running was the way to go. (Not to mention that she was the one that sent me all of the care packages with home-made cookies.) So began the weight loss, I looked better, I did some 5Ks and placed in my age group and running became my passion. It is still my passion and constant in life. I ran through both my pregnancies with dr. permission of course. Funny that I taught right up to my due date with both of my children. Former students of mine have said they remember us jogging to the practice field Tuesday afternoon and then Wednesday morning the principal announced that Mrs. Rodgers had a healthy little girl Tuesday evening. Of course, I had jogging strollers so that my kids could accompany me on my runs which was awesome. Now they are 14 and 11 and I do a program at my 11 year old’s school called Sole Sisters-just for girls and when we do the final run my older daughter comes to pace my younger one and so inspiring to see them running together stride for stride. If I have a stressful day, running is my way out. As a teacher for 25 years, my students see me running in class and this inspires them to like it also!!

What would you tell donors who are considering supporting Team for Kids runner to fund NYRR Youth Programs?
Mighty Milers has been an inspiring program for my students. They love to run with their teachers and friends and enjoy the various incentives which would not be possible without Team for Kids. They are becoming healthy and want to do more running and more exercising!

Tell us a little more about yourself.
I have been an elementary physical education and health teacher in Carlisle Area School District in Carlisle PA for 25 years. I am married and have 2 daughters that are 11 and 14. I love to run especially with my family and my dog. I also play competitive softball and enjoy watching my daughters play many sports.

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