Who are those youth in the orange reflective safety vests running in Santa Monica? They are the members of the Santa Monica Police Activities League’s (PAL) Running Program training to run 26.2 miles in Sunday’s Los Angeles Marathon.
In partnership with Students Run LA (SRLA), PAL has been training youth to run the LA Marathon for the past 15 years.
Participants in PAL’s running program are exposed to an active lifestyle and the pleasure of running.
As a result, many youth have increased their level of fitness, recreation and healthy lifestyles in accordance with the citywide Active Santa Monica initiative.
In addition, youth learn valuable lessons while training for the LA Marathon.
They reap the benefits of goal setting through various runs as well as character development and resilience to overcome obstacles and barriers.
This is all accomplished with the support and guidance of adult mentors who assist the youth in their training.
“This running program is about more than just running a marathon,” said Amy Albuera, a high school senior, in training for her 3rd LA Marathon with Santa Monica PAL. “For me, running has been a stress reliever and helped me focus better mentally. Most of all, it is about being able to start what you finish with the help and support of mentors that believe and encourage you. My mentors Karen and Don have helped many kids like me accomplish their goals to not only to finish a marathon but to get better grades, go on to college and start a career. You can apply what you learn in this program to anything in life.”
More than 125 Santa Monica PAL youth have finished the LA Marathon through the SRLA program since 1998.
In addition to providing workshops, clothing and race fees, SRLA has provided scholarships to 15 graduating PAL seniors.