Funhouse running program receives national grant

The Funhouse was recently named one of only seven organizations nationally to receive a grant from the Saucony Run for Good Foundation of Massachusetts. The $2800 will be used to expand The Funhouse’s youth running programs.

The Saucony Foundation is committed to improving the lives of children by helping to prevent and reduce childhood obesity.

The Funhouse running program was started in 2003 by then Executive Director Jeanne Beck, and runner Donna Hasbrouck, who now lives on Lopez. At the time, “Run Girl Run” was just for girls. Boys cross country was added in 2008.

Since the club started, more than 100 kids have participated. It’s not just about running; it’s also about healthy diet, health body image, self-esteem and self- confidence as well as connecting kids nature by accessing all the amazing trails on this island.

“We are incredibly proud of this program, the kids involved and to be recognized by Saucony,” says Funhouse director (and boys coach) Pete Moe. “It really feels great to be recognized for making a difference, especially in regards to this country’s disgraceful childhood obesity epidemic.”

Hasbrouck is still involved, and several other local adults have also signed on as coaches, notably Julie Brunner-Gaydos and Jean Spalti.

Susannah Beck, another coach of the girls’ team (and a nationally ranked trail runner) says, “As a coach, it’s incredibly heartening to see the older kids socialize easily with the younger kids they wouldn’t normally talk to, to watch a petulant foot-dragger blossom into a 10K runner, and to introduce them to the larger world of running and runners that will be accessible to them their entire lives.”