Oklahoma Spotlight

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Bob Williams, a probation officer with the Office of Juvenile Affairs in Washington County, tells us about a unique partnership that puts delinquent and at-risk youth on a path toward a healthier lifestyle.

Q & A

 Q: What is Run the Streets (RTS)?

A: Run the Streets is a mentoring program in Bartlesville that uses distance running as a vehicle for change with delinquent and at-risk youth.  Each season, approximately 75 youth train side-by-side with their mentors over the course of 12 weeks to run a half marathon.

Q: Sounds awesome! How did you develop this idea?

A: Bob Williams is a probation officer with the Office of Juvenile Affairs in Washington County, and a runner.  In 2006, Bob read an article in Runner’s World Magazine about the Students Run Los Angeles program.  He adapted the idea as an alternative to the traditional probation model, and approached the Court, District Attorney’s Office, and OJA to get approval.  Bob wrote grants to get United Way Funding to start the program and worked out partnerships with community partners.

Q: How much does the program cost?

A: RTS raises all funds from scratch (no grants or UW funding) and provides the program at no cost to youth.  Youth receive shoes, running gear, race fees, transportation, parties, and rewards as a result of their participation.  We recruit and maintain 35 to 40 mentors each season who commit to a training schedule of three days a week for 12 weeks.  More than 800 youth have finished a half marathon with RTS since 2009 and logged over 100,000 miles run. RTS raises approximately $80,000 each year and we spend approximately $70,000.

Q: Wow, that’s impressive – how much staff time or volunteer effort does it take to run RTS?

A: We have one paid, part-time coordinator and everything else is handled by volunteers.  The startup and early operation of the program required hundreds of hours of work, but today RTS runs smoothly with our coordinator and volunteers.

Q: Where are you planning to take this idea in the future?

A: We have a smooth running program and have had a great deal of success.  We would like to franchise (not for profit) the program around the country so that more communities can replicate our success.

Q: Is there anything you would do differently?

A: We’ve enjoyed helping many other similar programs get started around the country.  However, had we been able to franchise the program early on and require other programs to follow a blueprint of our model, we feel many of those programs would be more successful.

Q: What has the program achieved to date?

A: Run the Streets has seen over 150 youth complete their probation by finishing a half marathon.

For more information

Visit the program’s site http://runthestreets.org/ or contact Bob Williams, Run the Streets Program Developer, here. You can also hear Bob speak at the Youth Empowerment breakout at the Oklahoma Turning Point Council (OTPC) conference August 30 – 31, 2017 where he will be sharing his experience with Run the Streets.

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Meet Luis Hidalgo! He’s serving as a Health Educator at the Latino Community Development Agency, an M-POWER (OSDH/Center) grantee, and a member of the OK in the Know Community Council.

Read on to learn more about Luis, his public health background, how M-POWER is engaging the Latino community in increasing physical activity and staying tobacco free, and his own journey “walking the walk” in healthy living.

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Meet Tyler Coday! He’s serving as a Wellness Coordinator at the Wagoner County Health Department, a TSET Healthy Living Program grantee. He is also a part of the OK In the Know Community Council and an administrator for the Business Savvy group.

Read on to see what sport brought him to the other side of the world, as well as what he sees as the keys to getting hard-to-reach businesses on board with public health.

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Meet Charlene Shreder! Charlene’s work focuses on high risk drinking among adults, underage drinking, youth tobacco use, and adult and youth non-medical use of prescription drugs.

She’s serving as the Director for multiple grant projects (RPC, PFS and DFC) within the University of Oklahoma Southwest Prevention Center (SWPC). The OU SWPC serves ODMHSAS Region 8 which includes Cleveland and McClain Counties and has other federal level projects.

Charlene is also a part of the OK In the Know Community Council and an active member of the RPC Youth Engagement Committee.

She could be your go-to gal for anything related to coalitions, youth, and the SPF (Strategic Prevention Framework). Read on to find out more about Charlene, including how she went for out a meal and ended up with a vacation!

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Meet Clint Miller! He’s serving as Program Manager for the McClain County Healthy Living Program at Norman Regional Health System, a TSET Healthy Living Program grantee.

Clint is somewhat of a veteran in public health and is a rock star at planning and keeping track of things. Read on to find out what Clint can give you advice on and what he is most proud of.

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