Project Run Madera serves track athletes
Wendy Alexander/The Madera Tribune
Project Run Madera founder Alisha Brown founder hands a package of apparel her group donated to Madera South’s Angelina Aguirre last week. Brown and her group handed out shirts, shorts, sports bras for females and shoes to nearly 300 track athletes at Madera’s three middle schools and high schools.
After going through the hoops to finally create her non-profit, Project Run Madera, Alisha Brown helped Madera’s track athletes with more than 300 giveaways last week.
Brown originally came up with the idea to help Madera and Madera South’s cross country females with sports bras. However, after looking into it, Brown reached even higher and wanted to help out every track athlete in Madera Unified School District.
After hosting a Project Run Madera Gala to help raise funds, Brown gave away Project Run Madera shirts, shorts, sports bras and running shoes to almost 300 track athletes at all three middle schools and all three high schools.
“If we actually went off the tag numbers, it would have been more than $20,000,” Brown said. “We were gracious enough to partner with Fleet Feet in Fresno. We got an amazing deal on shoes. We had the sports bras totally donated. We were really blessed and fortunate to have enough to cover and have enough left. We are paying all the expenses for a summer track clinic. It will be free for the kids.”
Brown served the track athletes at Martin Luther King Middle School on Thursday morning and was overwhelmed by the emotions the athletes gave her.
“When we gave them their stuff, it was culture shock at first. Some of them didn’t know how to react to someone giving them stuff,” Brown said.
Brown and Project Run Madera served athletes at both Desmond Middle School and Matilda Torres High School.
“The kids were through the moon excited.” She said. “When they were coming to us, you could see their faces lit up. They were talking to us and saying thank you. The smiles were just incredible. Girls started coming up to me shyly asking to give me a hug. They were very polite.”
In addition to running shoes, Brown was able to help out an individual athlete with a pair of running spikes at Madera South.
“I told the coaches to see if there was something an athlete needed on a personal level, we can help that kid.” Brown said. “This athlete came up to me after and I gave her a hug and told her to do great things, quickly. I was going to cry again. She said thank you to me. There were no other words she could pull out because of the emotions and excitement. I know that feeling. It felt amazing to be able to do that same thing that someone did to me. I know how much it means.”
At the last school, Brown finally felt the weight of the day overwhelm her and realized what her program was able to do.
“I was presenting at Madera South and saying this was our last school,” she said. “As I was saying that, my mind went to think we served 300 athletes in one day. We did everything I’ve wanted to do, and some. We didn’t know if we could afford shoes to everyone. With this partnership with Fleet Feet, we can actually give to everyone to make sure they all had running shoes. This is what I wanted to do, ideally. It was huge.
“As I was saying that, things were going in slow motion. Everyone had a proud look and we did it. It was such a surreal feeling. All of the hard work that it took to get to this point, everything that started in 2017 to lead to this where it’s not just sports bras, it’s everybody getting everything. It was amazing. What was even more special about it was there were some kids I served in 2017 and they received gear again at Madera South. It was the most sincere thank you I got.”
Now, Brown will further help track athletes by hosting a track clinic over the summer for interested track athletes up through high school.