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Adaptable programming for holistic child development within sustainable community partnerships.

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A Running Start: Youth Running Clubs

A Running Start is a turnkey program designed to be championed and supported by community development organizations and implemented by local church partners.

Originally developed by Micah 6:8 Foundation in partnership with World Relief, it started as a pilot program to test whether physical activity paired with social, spiritual, and educational engagement could significantly contribute to the well-being of children.

That pilot program led to the development of a program model that is holistically beneficial to the growth and development of children; low-cost and sustainable for local community partners, such as churches; and scalable for development organizations to introduce in various contexts with numerous partners to reach many children and families.


The pilot program has developed into:

A 22-34 lesson curriculum spanning hygiene to self-esteem, with the ability to adapt the lesson plan based on the context and children being served

A recommended structure & life cycle for introducing running clubs in communities and ensuring they can be sustained long-term

A practiced methodology for training coaches who lead running clubs at local churches

A growing network of organizations who have implemented or are currently implemented this programming for shared learning and continual improvement



As of September 2021, 4 development organizations in 14 countries in partnership with more than 127 churches have trained 564 coaches and implemented the programming with over 10,000 children.

Partners report that the connection between physical activity and knowledge gained through lessons leads to significantly more impact on holistic wellness than programs that focus only on knowledge.

Trauma Healing

The well-documented link between physical movement & trauma healing means this programming creates significant reduction in symptoms of trauma.

The program has been shown to increase the % of participants reporting slight or no levels of trauma symptoms from 48% before graduation to 77% after graduation, effectively reducing trauma symptoms for 29% of children.

Knowledge, Attitude & Practice

KAP was measured in a quiz format with participants scored on how many questions they answered correctly.

Before the program, the majority (67%) of children scored between 40-69% on the KAP quiz. After the program, the majority (64%) of the children scored between 65-94% on the quiz, an increase of 25%.

[The Youth Running Club] was the

turning point in my life.

When I started attending the YRC sessions, especially the sport drills and jogging, my mind started to get liberated. I was excited when I learned that God created us in his image, and that I am unique and have special talents and abilities to be creative and achieve what I want. That day, I returned home with my head held high.

Many YRC lessons have inspired me positively. I discovered myself and gained strength. I dropped the hurtful feelings and decided to undertake more useful activities like doing home chores and participating in church activities.

My parents gained confidence in me and my grades improved in school.
I now know that despite the ongoing pandemic which has interrupted schools, I have a bright future because I am bold and can set a goal for my life.

Baraka Benjamin, YRC Participant

Join Us

Join a growing network reaching children through innovative programming & sustainable partnership.

Download Our Brochure

For more information, including history, additional impact information, and a list of implementation partners, download our brochure. You may share with your colleagues.

Contact Us

If you are interested in implementing your own running clubs, want to learn more, or connect with current running club implementers, please contact:

Ari deJonge

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