November Project DC — Wednesday Morning Recess with Lincoln

Dear Superintendent Vietzke and Director Vogel,

I wanted to take this moment to share my November Project story and the value it has in my life. Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read this letter.

I began coming to November Project in the summer of 2014. I had wanted to come for some time but I am a teacher and must be in the classroom ready for my first grade students by 7:35 am. I thought I could at least workout for two months over summer break before school started again in the fall. However, I was hooked from the moment we huddled together to discuss the workout. It was amazing to me that complete strangers could meet in one beautiful place to build relationships, enjoy the city and participate in free fitness. I also realized I had a newfound energy level to begin my day. By the end of that summer, I decided I had to figure out a way to incorporate November Project throughout the school year. I’ll admit it’s not easy. It requires lots of planning and rushing. If it were at any other location in the city I would not be able to make it to NOVA in time for work ending my November Project participation.

One reward for me is that not only has November Project changed my personal life it has also helped me see the role of fitness in my professional life. I help coach a running club for elementary-aged girls after school. Many of these kids do not have the opportunities or funds to be involved in organized sports. I have incorporated many of the November Project workouts and ideas into our running practices. I share my experiences with the girls so that they know that adults too can have active lifestyles. The girls enjoyed the workouts so much they were asking for more workouts. They realized that exercising can help build valuable relationships and be fun! One particular example is at November Project we often come together to create a tunnel with our hands to cheer on fellow members. I incorporated this into our after school workouts and the girls began doing this on their own with every workout. What a wonderful lesson for these girls to learn — to cheer for everyone no matter how fast or slow you can run. I also emphasized with the girls that living in the DC area allows the ability to workout in so many beautiful areas for FREE! Being active can be something you do with your friends, outside, and it doesn’t have to cost money. As we say at November Project, “use the city as your playground.”

A second reward for me has been being a part of something that has now grown to thirty different cities in the United States and abroad. The November Project community is alive and building relationships in so many wonderful places. A few months ago, I was in Philadelphia and didn’t want to workout alone. What a great feeling to know this wouldn’t be a problem. On that Wednesday morning, I was graciously greeted at the Philadelphia Art Museum by November Project Philadelphia for some free fitness, Rocky style. Moreover, two weeks ago, I was in Baltimore for a ten mile race. Mile nine was a very steep hill. As I approached the top, winded and hurting I could see and hear the cheering from November Project Baltimore helping runners to finish strong, which gave me the last push to the finish.

To close, November Project has definitely made an impact in my life. I try to make every 5:30 am Lincoln Memorial Wednesday workout. It’s the coming together of a community of people working out in this beautiful city and helping to start the day off on the right foot. It is certainly something I hope my students can participate in as adults when they are older. Today as I let my kids out on the playground I heard one of my students shout, “run, run!” Ask any child what his/her favorite time of day is — recess! This is where kids build relationships, solve problems, blow off steam, and create personalities in a healthy manner. As an adult, I need this time too! I ask for you to please reconsider your decision and allow November Project to use the Lincoln Memorial steps. It has become my recess in the city I enjoy!

Thank You,

Kristy Shoaff

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