What is Starting Strides?
The Starting Strides program began in 2012 and has since expanded to 14 elementary schools in Coastal Virginia. The program provides scholarships to schools with economically disadvantaged communities to help eliminate the barriers that prevent students from running the Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile. These barriers include financial costs and transportation.
The scholarship includes the following for up to 50 students at each school:
- Running shoes
- Shoe fitting from Running Etc.
- Entry into the Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile
- School shirt to wear on race day
- Transportation to and from the Operation Smile Shamrock Final Mile
In 2022, the Starting Strides program will help 700 students at 14 schools thanks to the J&A Racing Foundation and our school sponsors.
History of the Program
In 2012, J&A Racing’s owners, Jerry and Amy Frostick, visited a local elementary school to run with the students. During that visit, Amy met a boy who forever changed her view on running. After hearing that running is the only time he truly feels happy since he witnessed his own mother’s death, J&A Racing made it part of its mission to make running accessible to other students just like the one Amy ran with that day.