Volunteering with Up and Running Again

IMG953631As we look forward to starting our training this coming week and have a Volunteer Meeting on Monday night at 7pm at Grace Church of Orange, I would like to feature a very dedicated and well-loved volunteer.  Thank you so much Joanne for inspiring so many runners!  Hopefully her story will inspire you too.

Name: Joanne Roberson

Tell me about your family: I have been happily married for 19 years to my incredible husband Jason. We have been blessed with two children; Jacob who is 19 and recently married to Ruby Ramirez ( both Nova graduates) and Hannah who is 16 and a junior at Nova.

Occupation: stay at home mom

What is your running history (before URA and now): Track and field was my first sport at age 5, running was part of my family life, in 2005 my husband and I completed the Honolulu marathon together.

How long have you volunteered with URA and what facility do you help at: This is my third season at Nova Academy. Surf city in 2011, Long Beach 2012, the OC 2012, Long Beach 2013.

Do you have a story to share that you have watched unfold that has inspired you: There are countless stories of lives that have changed through the URA group at Nova. URA was a God send to Nova. My son and daughter had been homeschooled most of their lives. My son entered Nova as a sophomore and no sports were offered. My son’s junior year and daughter’s freshman year URA came to Nova. I was elated that a Christian non-profit running group that trains students and parents for 1/2 marathons came to Nova! This was something Nova needed. When I met Steve Tierney for the first time I knew this was truly a God send. I could see he truly cared about the students. He shined brightly for Jesus. We were so blessed to have him, Art, and Paul train with us our first season.  We needed Godly men like these to be examples for the kids.  A special memory from our first group was when the kids earned their shoes and we took a trip to The Snail’s Place Running Store. It was mezmerizing to see the excitement on the kids faces! It was pure joy to be a part of it. Every season I get to be a part of many students lives. Those I run with hear my testimony,  as well as funny stories God puts on my heart to share, and here quotes like, “I fight my genes by keeping fit.” I get to be an ear to listen to them and know what is going on in their lives. I get to laugh with them and take plenty of group run photos! Every training season is different but always so good! I think the experience for the students is so positive and life changing that they invite their friends to join.  I encourage the new runners that the program is set up for non-runners,that they can do it! Today we had 48 students sign up. This to me says that URA is here to stay at Nova.

The numbers increase every training season and that means more and more lives are being changed for the good. Teachers and faculty are participating with URA too. What a beautiful testimony of what URA means to Nova.

What are you most looking forward to this training season: I enjoy praying before the runs. I look forward to getting to know more students. I enjoy encouraging the runners during the runs. I am excited to train with an Olympic athlete!<

What qualities do you see in a URA volunteer: compassion for others, encouragement for the discouraged, the love of Christ.

Why should someone volunteer for URA: to invest in others, to help others do something that seems impossible, to pay it forward, to be used for the glory of God.

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