Dare students GO FAR
Published 11:29 pm Saturday, December 14, 2019
OBX GO FAR (Go Out For A Run) was started in January of 2010 with just 65 children and parents participating in a little ¾ mile fun run kicking off the Kelly’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Ten years later, GO FAR has served over 6,000 children throughout Dare County. OBX GO FAR is a local nonprofit program created to fight the childhood obesity epidemic while teaching children healthy habits that can be sustained throughout their lives.
Over the past 10 years, OBX GO FAR has created a ripple effect in schools and communities when children motivate their teachers, parents and siblings to get involved. Thousands of families have been impacted by this ripple effect throughout Dare County, according to information from Dare County Schools.
“People ask me all the time why we coaches are passionate about Go Far? We are passionate because we see our Go Far children athletes change. Their confidence builds, they are healthier, stronger, kinder. Our children change and then they become the change agent, the encourager for their family and then that family leans into the larger community of family. Pretty exciting stuff,” said Sarah Benson, Manteo Elementary School head coach.
OBX GO FAR could not have reached over 6,000 children without support from the community. Over 250 local volunteers stepped up to coach little runners throughout Dare County.
“I think one of the greatest impacts that GO FAR has is that it is a program that can be done by any student in the school. It’s not a competitive team sport and kids can set personal goals and work at it until they reach their one mile or 3.1 miles,” said former coach Michelle Owens. “No matter how much they run, they get a sense of accomplishment. There is nothing better than seeing a child who has worked hard for six to eight weeks receive his or her medal. The smiles are endless.”
OBX GO FAR was founded by Samantha Lock, former after-school enrichment director for Dare County Schools and owner of The Studio, Mindfulness Center for Children.
“I never imagined the long-term impact that OBX GO FAR would have on children and families in our community. We have watched children grow from running a one-mile fun run in GO FAR to running ½ marathons and receiving scholarships to run in college,” said Lock. “It truly is amazing to see these children implement the skills we are teaching them like perseverance, kindness, good sportsmanship and goal setting. They truly are going far!”
In 2018, OBX GO FAR established the Going Farther College Education Fund for graduating seniors who participated in OBX GO FAR. Each May, this fund provides two graduating seniors from Dare County a scholarship for college or post high school continuing education. To date, the program has given $4,000 to past OBX GO FAR participants.
The program is continuing to grow and reach more youth, expanding their college education fund through sponsorships and fundraising events such as the Annual OBX Turkey Trot in Southern Shores, held each Thanksgiving, and OBX Jeep Jam held in September.
According to Lock, “We are ready to take OBX GO FAR even further! It is the goal of our OBX GO FAR board to build upon the solid foundation that the first 10 years has put in place with the continued support of our community. Our children have the ability to shape their community. GO FAR provides children the healthy tools to make real changes within themselves, at home, in their communities or wherever life takes them. I personally have seen these changes in my home and it’s happening in many people’s homes across Dare County.”