PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Right now, groups of young people are training for the Philadelphia Marathon this coming November.  And some are getting a special sort of guiding hand.

“Students Run Philly Style is an organization that mentors children between the ages of 12 and 18, and we use long distance running as the vehicle to connect with the kids,” says Jim Paterno (at left in photo), board chair of Students Run Philly Style and also a running mentor.

“A lot of the kids that are in the program come from very challenged environments,” he says.  “There’s not a lot of adult guidance in their lives.  They’ve just grown accustomed to people promising things and not really following through, and not really showing up when they say they’re going to.”

Like when he went away on vacation and said, “I’ll see you in a week.”

“When I returned, there was shock,” he recalls.  “Most of the kids just thought, ‘Well, here’s another adult who promised something who’s not going to show up.’ ”

Hear the full interviews in this CBS Philly podcast…

“Our major goal is to run the Philadelphia Marathon in November,” says West Catholic High School student ca participant in the program.  “It helps me to be more determined, especially when I’m trying to sit down to study.  If I know I can run ten miles, I know I can sit down and study math homework.”

“It’s really not about the running,” notes Paterno.  “It’s about being next to someone every step of the way, to just talk, and to explore how they can get to the next step.”

That’s Positively Philadelphia!

Reported by Lauren Lipton, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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