Officials from “Students Off and Running” (SOAR) in Santa Clarita recently took the spotlight on the latest “The Way Out Recovery Hour” on KHTS.
As a program provided by the nonprofit Santa Clarita Track Club, SOAR offers marathon training to local students to prepare them for the L.A. Marathon, all at no cost, said Director Kevin Sarkissian.
The program began in 2007 when Sarkissian -- who, at the time, was a leader for a similar organization called Students Run L.A. (SRLA) -- took a job in Santa Clarita.
“(I) asked SRLA if I could move my chapter to Santa Clarita, because I saw such a transformational, powerful impact that marathon training and completing a marathon has on young adults and high school students,” Sarkissian said.
Though SRLA was unable to make the location change, Sarkissian was brought into the Santa Clarita Track Club to create a marathon training program using their existing nonprofit 501(c)3 status.
“They provide track and field, cross country, and then my program, the SOAR program, is the marathon training program,” Sarkissian said. “It’s different from a lot of the organizations or of the programs here in the valley … where you would charge registration fees for families, for their sons and daughters, to participate. SOAR doesn’t charge anything to anybody.”
SOAR provides a fully supported, 400-mile, 25-week training program for students in preparation for them to run the L.A. Marathon together.
Though students never have to pay to participate in the program, families help with fundraising activities to raise the estimated $30,000 it costs for 30 students to train and participate in the L.A. Marathon annually.
The primary fundraising campaign for SOAR is the Mardi Gras Madness 5K and 10K scheduled for Feb. 24, 2019, which raises about $30-35,000 every year, according to Sarkissian.
“The cool thing about it is, we are runners that provide a running experience for students in need, but … because we do races all over the place, we know what a good race looks like,” he said. “We build a quality race with marathon-quality finisher’s medal, live music, beer garden -- the whole nine, all across the board.”
The Way Out Recovery SCV Program Director Bob Sharits noted that Mardi Gras Madness is great for families, those with experience running and those without.
“Come out and support that, because you don’t have to be a marathon-trained runner to run in that event,” he said. “You can come out with your family and strollers and just participate in the event and support this wonderful organization.”
In Santa Clarita, drug issues are a major concern for many. The mission of the Santa Clarita rehab The Way Out Recovery SCV Drug and Alcohol Outpatient Treatment is to provide high quality, effective alcohol and drug outpatient treatment. The drug rehab’s goal is to assist adolescents, adults and their loved ones in becoming happily and usefully whole, free from drug addiction. Those seeking Santa Clarita drug treatment or a teen drug rehab can rest assured that The Way Out Recovery’s philosophy is to teach lifelong coping skills and strategies to assist in improving quality of life and living happily and meaningfully without the need of destructive behaviors.
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