EDITORS NOTE: We recently learned about "Lion's Heart" which is all about teens volunteering. We asked if there were any runners in the group and within a day or so close to fifty Lion's Heart kids replied. Being a volunteer is what makes the world go around...even track meets are mostly run by volunteers. Why teen volunteering? Make new friends, donate your time not money, earn college resume credit and scholarships! Fall enrollment ends 10/1 : https://lionsheartservice.org/join.aspx
Lion’s Heart, a national non-profit teen volunteer platform, is built on a legacy of running. Founder Terry Corwin, her husband, and their two sons are avid runners. Even Terry's father-in-law, Ken Corwin, was a lifelong athlete, and it was his dedication to community service that helped inspire Terry to create Lion's Heart. The organization’s Torchbearer’s award is named in his honor.
In 1996, Ken was selected to run with the Olympic Torch for the Atlanta Summer Olympic Games. His torch is mounted on the wall in the Lion's Heart office to remind Members how important it is to give back in their communities. The Torchbearer’s award is given out every year to the most outstanding Member from each chapter as voted by his or her peers. Candidates are those who have gone “above and beyond” for the community, shown leadership throughout the year, come to meetings prepared, and participated in most if not all of the group activities.
Below, a few of Lion’s Heart’s current Members, including one Torchbearer, share their love of community service and running with Youth Runner Magazine.
“Running and community service are both important parts of my life. When I run, I feel a sense of pride because I never give up on reaching my goals when workouts get hard or I’m feeling sore. I continue to push myself not only for my personal benefit, but also for my team. Community service also makes me extremely happy. I love how much joy and gratitude I bring to others when I do something for those in need or for my community. Running and Lion’s Heart go hand in hand in bringing me joy and allowing me to think of others instead of myself. They make me a better overall person.”
– Haley G., Ridgefield, CT Lion’s Heart Chapter
“My experience with Lion’s Heart has taught me how to help make our community a better place. Many people have great ideas and need help accomplishing them, and through the organization I can find ways to work on projects that interest my friends and I, while helping get things done in our community. One of my recent volunteer activities was to be an escort for a special Olympian to their sporting event. As a runner myself, I know how intimidating the start of a race can be, so I shared a few encouraging words, ‘The nervous feeling you get before a race is a good thing, it makes you run faster. If you channel that energy into a positive it can work for your benefit.’ Lion’s Heart, as well as track, has helped me accomplish many things that I would never have experienced, all good.”
– Blake H., Foothill Ranch, CA Lion’s Heart Chapter
“In considering the connection between running and community service, one must not ignore both the team and individual aspects of each. I run competitively because I love to represent my school in both cross-county and track events. However, in those meets, although I am competing on behalf of my school, I am striving to accomplish things for myself. Similarly, my participation in Lion’s Heart community service events is undertaken within particular groups that I represent, while at the same time providing me with individual satisfaction. Thus, both running and community service provide a personal sense of accomplishment, while actively engaging in activities in a group setting. I strive to improve things around me; whether it be setting a personal best meet time or improving the lives of others.”
–McKenzie S., Trabuco Canyon - Coto de Caza, CA Lion’s Heart Chapter
“I love running and Lion's Heart! Both are activities are have helped me make great friends that will last a lifetime. You feel really good about yourself after helping your community and you feel really good after finishing a run! Healthy, strong and happy! I hope that one day everyone in the world does Lion’s Heart because it such a great experience! Both running and Lion’s Heart give you a great sense of accomplishment… that feeling you get after running is such an amazing feeling, just like the feeling you get after you help someone in need! Lions Heart and Running has given me so many great opportunities to grow as a person. I look forward to many more years of both!”
- Catherine M., Ladera Ranch, CA Lion’s Heart Chapter
“I love running and volunteering for my community. Running has taught me to express myself and who I am. It gives me self-confidence, determination and helps with staying fit. Also, helps me to deal with stress that comes with the workload I have with schoolwork. All of the stress goes away when I run, especially when I’m with my running group, We ROCK. We all love to encourage and motivate each other. Like miles I’ve run, each hour I volunteer teaches me valuable lessons about myself. Volunteering for my community is something that I love to do and I am very lucky to have this opportunity. Every moment I give back brings much JOY to my heart. All teens should learn to give back to their community in some way. Happy Running!”
– Sienna C., Trabuco Canyon - Coto de Caza, CA Lion’s Heart Chapter
“I love running and I put my heart into it because it is something anyone can participate in and control. It’s your choice to either give up and start walking or you put your head down and push through the pain. I'm a competitive person, like my grandpa and my dad, and I run harder now in memory of my grandpa and grandma who recently passed away. Running not only is fun, it makes me feel alive, allows me to expresses myself and shows people that I am determined to succeed no matter what. Lion’s Heart is similar in that I have responsibilities and have to rise to the volunteer work my chapter performs. I also love helping out during events and making the people smile.”
– Joey L., Rancho Santa Margarita, CA Lion’s Heart Chapter
Lion’s Heart, which is headquartered in Southern California, has grown to more than 50 chapters across 11 states, and is actively expanding its reach by adding new chapters across the country. The organization instills the value of community service in its Members, providing meaningful life skills through leadership opportunities and philanthropic experiences. Over the years, Members have performed a combined total of more than 400,000 volunteer hours, which equates to more than $9,000,000 in societal value.
Groups in each chapter location have between three and twenty teens and are organized by gender and grade. Though each small group has one parent Class Coordinator, the teens elect their own officers, lead their own meetings, and decide how to serve their community – with no fundraising. For more information visit their website www.lionsheartservice.org or visit their Facebook page.