She started with just 10 minutes a day. 552 miles later, this kid is outrunning adults.
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Nike's Made to Play

When Kelbie Black first found out that her dad was trying to make running "a thing" at her school, she wasn't thrilled.

“I didn’t think running would be fun,” Kelbie says. She was nine years old at the time, and thought that running sounded boring, especially compared to her other interests, like drawing, baking, and most of all, spending time with her friends.  

All images via Nike.


But Coach Black — as her dad was known at school — knew that running, when it's done right, could be rewarding. He had a vision for how all the kids at Taylor Creek Elementary School, including his daughter, could benefit from the activity.

Kyle and Kelbie Black.

He also believed that integrating running into the school day would have a positive impact on the teachers, parents and their Texas community.

“Our school is on the edge of town, so everyone lives kind of out in the country,” says Black. “I was trying to find a way to bring people together.”  

While looking online for healthy community-oriented activities, he came across Marathon Kids, an organization that helps schools create and manage running clubs that are designed to get kids moving.

The program, supported by Nike, has a simple mission: To encourage every kid to go at their own pace and run (or walk) the equivalent of four marathons, or 104.8 miles.

At first, four marathons seemed like a steep goal for Kelbie.

She wasn’t much of a runner and that was a lot of miles. Still, when her dad brought the program to the school, he convinced her to sign up and give it a try.

In fact, with Coach Black's encouragement, 70 students signed up. They all started out by running about 10 minutes every day after school.

Right away, Kelbie realized that running could include one of her favorite activities: “I get to be with my friends.”

She loved the chance to spend time with other kids at school, outside of the classroom. They’d chat, laugh, and encourage each other as they ran, which kept Kelbie moving even after she began to feel tired.

“My friends keep on going [even] when it's hard,” she says. “So I keep going, and I keep pushing.”

Kelbie quickly discovered that she was capable of running more than she thought, and she reached her four-marathon goal before anyone else at her school.

And she didn’t stop there.

Kelbie kept running beyond her goal, reaching the equivalent of more than 21 marathons in one school year — more than any other Marathon Kid in the country.

This newfound perseverance has helped Kelbie in school, too. Her parents say that she used to get frustrated and give up when homework was difficult, but now that she knows she can push through tough moments, she keeps trying.

These days, Kelbie’s running because she likes it.

She does a run-walk every day, aiming for at least three miles each day.

Kelbie has also inspired others to get active by showing them that you don’t have to be a superstar athlete to enjoy running.

Her friends join her a few times a week to run through their neighborhoods, and her family joins her for physical activities like walking, bicycling, and rollerblading in the evenings.

“Kelbie’s kind of inspired her mom to get active,” Coach Black says, “because there's nothing that motivates [you] more than your 10-year-old outdoing you!”

The program continues to be a success overall, motivating kids to not only be active, but to find joy and connection with others while they’re at it.

In addition to running a total of 3,000 miles during their first year as Marathon Kids, Kelbie's class of 20 students also scored higher than other students on their physical endurance exams and showed more confidence than other students, according to Coach Black.

“They know their body better,” he says. “So they know that just because it's difficult, doesn't mean [they] have to quit … They're more self-aware of what their limits are and what they're capable of.”

Experts also say that exercise can actually change children’s brain chemistry to improve their capacity for regulating their moods, which helps them function better in school.

Marathon Kids has now become a school-wide activity. Hallways and classrooms are adorned with celebratory running logs and motivational posters. 10-minute runs or walks are built into the school day. Teachers — some of whom had worried this would distract kids from their schoolwork — are motivated by what they see in their students and have started running too. Even some parents have joined in.

After running more than she ever thought possible, Kelbie hopes that her story can inspire others to give their own goals a shot.

Not everyone will run 21 marathons in one year, but everyone can start small and gradually discover what they're capable of.

“It always starts with baby steps,” says Kelbie. After that, getting active might just help you in ways that you never saw coming.

We all have a part to play in empowering kids through an active lifestyle. That's why Nike and Marathon Kids are teaming up to get kids moving — but we'll need your help.

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."