Canaries Running Team, The Mentoring Project, Oklahoma City
Mentees: Tarah Wolf & Vanessa Rivas, 16 and 11 respectively
“We love how she advocates for girls! We have just fallen more and more in love with Abby the more we've gotten to know her.
"Abby, the founder of a mentor-based running club for young girls called the Canaries Running Team, contacted The Mentoring Project to sponsor mentees in the SandRidge Santa Run this past December.”
Director of Strategic Initiatives
The Mentoring Project
Abby shared the following comments about her mentoring experience:
"Just about five years ago, at the age of 15, I began mentoring at the OKC Warriors Mentoring Program located at a church in South Oklahoma City. While we read books and did homework with kids in the community I was not so gently exposed to a world I never knew existed. At first I was timid, even afraid, but it didn't take long for me to fall head over heels in love with the area and the people.
"Four years after I began mentoring, I launched the Canaries Running Team, a free running team offered to girls, ages eight and up, in the South Oklahoma City area. The program developed after I realized the girls in the community were starving for things of which I had more than enough to share. Feeling unvalued and unloved, my sweet Canaries believed they could never accomplish their dreams. The girls latched on to the team and are now thriving. We attend OKC Warriors mentoring every Monday as well as meet twice per week for running practice and compete in monthly races.
"The girls on our team struggle with food insecurity, unstable families, and lack of positive role models in their lives. The girls show up for running practice every week, but they are coming for much more than that. They are showing up because it is a place they are cherished, motivated and encouraged. Our running team is a place of much silly laughter and joy, as well as a place where children feel safe enough to confide in their coaches. We are told of much heart break, as well as many joys. We meet family members, struggle with language barriers, and let our girls and their families know that we are there to support them and hope to see them thrive.
"Everything about the Canaries is teaching the girls their extraordinary value; even our team name lends itself to an opportunity to speak this truth into our girls’ lives.
"(The Message) ‘What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail - even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.’ Matthew 10:29-31
"I mentor girls and coach practices, but I have been blessed to be a part of much more than that. I am invited to attend graduations, school events, and welcomed into homes to enjoy dinner prepared by my sweet Canaries families. I cannot imagine where I would be had I not attended mentoring five years ago as a naive young girl without a clue as into what I was getting myself.”
|Abby Prescott, Mentor of the Year, Canaries Running Team, The Mentoring Project; Vanessa Rivas, mentee; Tarah Wolf, mentee; and Kari Sowers, director of strategic initiatives, The Mentoring Project|