The FAHLA’s annual 24 hour treadmill event continued to spread awareness about homelessness in the greater Los Angeles area
Homelessness is reaching an astonishing level in Los Angeles County, as a 2019 report by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority noted that approximately 50,000 to 60,000 LA residents are homeless. From that estimate, 44,000 of those individuals can be found living on the streets. As the epidemic continues, county officials search for answers to relieve the community’s hardships with the help of nonprofits and organizations.
The Future Allied Health Leaders Association (FAHLA) continued to be a part of this discussion from Nov. 16-17. The club partnered with Back on My Feet (BoMF), a national nonprofit organization, to host the 24 Hour Treadmill Challenge on Cougar Walk. The charity event sought to spread awareness about the homeless issue in Southern California and raise money.
FAHLA invited anyone on APU’s campus to run or walk on a provided treadmill. Each individual who participated was asked to commit for 30 minutes. At the event there was a booth with further information along with a donation opportunity. Participants were also able to donate through the Venmo app.
FAHLA and BoMF have partnered to run this treadmill event for four years. Jody Wilkinson, MD, is an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and the club advisor. He plans on incorporating his passion for running with his call to serve. He connected with BoMF, and together they developed the annual challenge.
“I see so much potential for APU’s involvement with BoMF, and I look forward to seeing where God leads us from here,” said Wilkinson in an APU Life Magazine article. “We hope this partnership will inspire and provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to use their gifts—in this case running and fitness—to be a light to the world, as they come alongside to encourage and support others in taking one step at a time and getting back on their feet.”
BoMF has done exceptional work since their initiation in 2014. With the nonprofit commiting to nearly 950,000 miles run in total, BoMF has allowed more than 6,500 of their members to be both employed and housed. Generally, the members who join the nonprofit are people who are enrolled at homeless and addiction facilities throughout the US.
APU’s community is directly impacted by the homeless epidemic as a private university within the greater Los Angeles region.
“There is no easy remedy for the homelessness crisis nationwide, but I believe that the APU community can definitely help out effectively by partnering with nonprofits like BoMF, to help our Los Angeles brothers and sisters,” said Jasmine Monleon, co-president of FAHLA.
Along with the proximity of the issue, FAHLA believes APU should also care about homelessness based on theological principles. APU’s four cornerstones involve service and taking care of those in need as an essential component of being a Christ follower. FAHLA’s efforts embody this idea of serving for a purpose that is larger than one’s personal agenda.
“This event matters to me personally because I started volunteering with community meals spring semester of my freshman year. I’ve been serving the homeless and low income locals of Azusa ever since then and that experienced has changed my life,” said Camille Reyes, co-president of FAHLA. “Our goal is to shift people’s perceptions of the homeless and push these people to help.”
With a goal of $1,500 set before the event began, FAHLA has already raised nearly $2,000 for the Los Angeles district of BoMF. While the treadmill challenge has come to an end, the club will continue accepting donations until Nov. 23.