The Homeboy Special Stretch

Created on Thursday, 08 Oct 2015 06:20:17

It’s five thirty in the morning.  In the parking lot of Homeboy Industries, a group of homies stand together in the dark.

“It started pretty early on in the program,” says Tim Mann, program director for the non-profit organization Back on 

My Feet.  “Probably a couple months in.  I don’t know who started it. In the morning, different people lead the stretches.  The Homeboy Special Stretch started organically. Now all our teams use it from time to time.”


A Homeboy trainee and runner tries to explain the stretch.  “Actually, I can’t.  I have to show you.”  He stands up and puts his hands behind his back.  He pushes his hips forward a little and leans back, stretching slightly from side to side.  If a stretch could look intimidating, this one is it.  “At 5:30 in the morning, in the darkness in the parking lot,” says Tim with a laugh, “doing the Homeboy Special Stretch—people would probably be pretty confused by it.” 


Three days a week, with the help of volunteers from the Back on My Feet running program, a team of 17 to 20 Homeboy trainees and supporters go on early morning runs.  Running not only helps homies stay healthy, it creates a sense of kinship, teamwork, and self esteem.
The transformative power of running goes far beyond fitness.  Says Tim, running helps people realize “they’re capable of much more than they once thought.  People start the program not able to run a mile straight.  They’re tired, they’re sore.  They tell themselves, ‘I’m never going to get better.’ But we encourage them to keep coming back and they see that they can run one mile, two miles.  Now they’re thinking, ‘If I can do this, what else can I do?’ That’s huge. Running really stimulates life in that way.” And it all starts with a stretch.


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'It’s five thirty in the morning. In the parking lot of Homeboy Industries, a group of homies stand together in the...

Posted by Homeboy Industries on Thursday, October 8, 2015

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