Sparking Change at a Los Angeles Title 1 School

Lizbeth Tello saw that her students at GRATTS Elementary School weren’t moving enough and she wanted to change that. An avid runner herself, she knew just what to do. Her Los Angeles-based Title I school had no budget and her kids’ parents, most living at or below the poverty line, couldn’t afford extracurricular activities or sports. So, Tello applied for a Marathon Kids grant and received funding to start an after school run club.

Marathon Kids Run Club
Coach Lizbeth Tello (l) and Coach Maité Apodaca (r).

Sparking Change at GRATTS

Coach Tello brought Marathon Kids to GRATTS to spark change toward healthier lives for the kids and enlisted a cadre of volunteers to help. With music blasting, healthy snacks between laps, and even some parents joining in on the fun, the run club took off this year, with more than 200 kids running after school.

Meet Brian and Julio

One of the students, Brian Ramos, is 11 years old and just completed 6th grade. When asked how Marathon Kids has made a difference in his life, he responded by saying that Marathon Kids gave him the chance to participate in the LA Nike 10K run.

“I wanted to push myself and see if I could run it under an hour, and I did!” Brian says.

He believes running the 10K was a great experience for him and that running has also helped him with other sports, like soccer. He’s sad that this is his last year at GRATTS; he wants to continue running and he hopes his middle school has a running club.

Marathon Kids Run Club
Brian and Julio compare miles.

Julio Gonon, also 11 and recently completed 6th grade, says that what he likes about being in the Marathon Kids running club is that running gives him a lot of energy, taking his stress away and relaxing him.

“Running makes me a better student because I am more focused in class and now I do my homework every day,” Julio says. “I have lost 15 pounds and I feel much healthier.”

Coach Tello’s dream to make a positive, lasting impact in the lives of her students is coming true.

Kids Run Club
Marathon Kids after school run club at GRATTS Elementary in Los Angeles.

To start your own run club, apply for a Marathon Kids grant!