This week is Sneaker Week for Back on My Feet. The idea is that companies allow employees to pay $5 to wear sneakers to work for the week and the money raised goes to Back on My Feet. In honor of Sneaker Week, we had a joint team run this morning with both the Progress House and the HVAF teams at the Indiana State Museum. People who participated in Sneaker Week through their employers were also invited to join us. It's always nice to have a big group and to get to interact with the other team in the Indianapolis chapter. I wish we did more together.
The run was just a mile along the canal (I also ran to the museum and back home for some extra milage). It was humid and drizzly and gross, but meeting with the team got me out the door. My knees were a little sore, but that was probably because I had just done my long run less than 12 hours earlier.
This evening at 6:00 we had Orientation 2.0 at Wheeler Mission downtown. Wheeler Mission has a lot of different facilities in Indianapolis and they are probably the key player in providing shelter and other services to homeless and needy in the city. The purpose of the meeting was to give the Back on My Feet volunteers a better picture of what the resident members are going through as they are dealing with the early stages of recovery from addictions. Our first speaker was Joe, a well loved HVAF member. Joe told us about his ongoing struggle with addiction. He has gotten clean and relapsed more than once, but he feels like having the team this time holds him accountable in a very different way. He told us about how the relationships that he has formed through Back on My Feet are the first real, normal relationships that he has had in his entire adult life. It was really nice to hear that what we do has an impact. Joe's speech was eye-opening and inspirational and I will do my best to take things from his speech and apply them to my relationships with the residents at Back on My Feet in the future.
The next speaker was someone from Wheeler Mission who told us about what they do and how they interact with the homeless populations in Indianapolis. It's amazing how many facilities they operate and how many people they help every week. It made me feel good to think about all of the other people who volunteer their time in different ways. I'm glad that there are more people out there who believe that they can have a positive impact on their communities and the lives with which they come in contact.
The last speaker was a specialist in addiction and recovery. He had a super long list of impressive qualifications and accolades which I forget now, but I guess he's a big deal. He told us about how he was an addict and was driven to recovery when his wife, who was also an addict, died of an overdose and left him as a single parent. He threw his entire life into learning everything he could about addiction and recovery and now he offers a unique perspective on the issues that integrates personal, down-to-earth experience and scientific research. He was very compelling. If he had offered a course in college on what he presented to us in an hour, I absolutely would have enrolled. I think for me in particular, the combination of personal experience and scientific facts is a perfect way for me to be engaged and learn and remember. He made me think about a few things in a new way, which I am sure will be useful in the future.
Overall, the Orientation 2.0 was great and I am really grateful that Back on My Feet organized the meeting for us. It was a good reminder of why I joined the organization and what I am there to do. I am excited to go back to practice on Wednesday reinvigorated and recommitted to the team.