Teach Youth to Succeed in all of Life’s Races

When did you start running? Was it as an adult, as part of some corporate challenge? Maybe it was in high school, or on competitive teams in college. More likely, it was when you simply wanted to set and achieve a goal. The sad truth is that many youth in the Twin Cities don’t have an opportunity to be active, or compete in ways we take for granted.

I’ve been a runner, in some capacity, for many years. I’ve run marathons, half marathons, and a bunch of other stuff with a “K” attached to it. I’ve also spent the better part of my life working with people. A few years ago, I found a place to combine my love of running, with mentoring. There are many great programs out there, but Bolder Options is one organization I absolutely love!

What is Bolder Options?

Bolder Options is a local, activity based youth mentoring program. It pairs an active adult (you), in a one on one match with a kid. Their mission is about relationships and mentoring that gives kids a fighting chance in this world. They take a holistic approach that encourages healthy habits in all aspects of life. Their mission includes:

The comprehensive mentoring program, wellness activities, and leadership opportunities coordinate family, community, school, and county resources in a united effort to support youth who are at-risk for dropping out of school or becoming involved in delinquent or unhealthy behaviors.

They utilize a research-based curriculum to evaluate if they are doing what’s best for everyone involved.


The best part is that the Bolder Options staff plans and organize countless events throughout the year. Everything from cross country skiing, capture the flag, community volunteering opportunities, family style meals (prepped by the kids!), and of course 5k races to reach your training goals.

It’s so rewarding to see a child finish a run they never thought they could. They equip both you and your mentee to be successful through their many resources and opportunities.

How to Become a Volunteer

Volunteers are expected to meet weekly with their match for a full year. This level of commitment asked of the volunteers is a big part of why Bolder Options is successful. This increased, consistent time with the mentee forms bonds and builds trust. Even though kids graduate the program after a year, many matches stay connected much longer. After 3 years I still meet with my kiddo and I hope she’s in my life forever!

If you would like to get involved, fill out the online mentor form. You’ll be screened, and if you’re a good fit for the program, begin the matching process. For some, the idea of being a mentor may be intimidating. Rest assured, Bolder Options offers training and on-going support for mentors. There is no reason to let inexperience or fear hold you back.

I recommend Bolder Options to anyone and everyone looking for a place to get involved. Passing on the gift of running is only one of the countless things that makes this program great.

Would you consider being part of Bolder Options?


Sharon is an academic, a coach, and personal trainer. She loves running, and doesn't care how long or how fast.

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