Running a half-marathon is a major goal in anyone’s life. For Jomel C., he made it his goal not once, but three times!
“The trick is to just keep moving,” said Jomel. He is always moving! In fact, he is hard at work training for his third Rock and Roll Half Marathon coming up this November.
A participant at The Arc of San Antonio, Jomel is our own marathon man! Jomel proudly explains how he lost 46 pounds while training for the half-marathon. He runs with a group at Morgan’s Wonderland, headed up by Debi Weland-West. “Last year, I beat my best time,” said Jomel. “I finished in 5 hours. I run and walk during the race.”
Not only is Jomel an avid marathon participant, he volunteers at Morgan’s Wonderland in the summer and is a member of The Arc’s V.I.P. program. The V.I.P. program, Volunteer Involvement Program, is a new initiative within The Arc to encourage volunteerism, vocational and life skills. Members in this program are able to volunteer in the community, learn new job skills and work on basic living skills.
Jomel is justifiably proud of his accomplishments and boasts on how well his teammates are doing with their training, too. The sense of pride that participants like Jomel gain from being a part of programs like The Arc’s V.I.P program and the Morgan’s Wonderland marathon team is invaluable.
Opportunities and programs provided by The Arc of San Antonio and other organizations in the area foster independence and allow individuals with special needs to be part of something larger. Programs at The Arc are geared toward building upon our participants’ confidence, skills and interests. The end goal is to open avenues for them to become active, positive members of their communities. The programs and staff strive to motivate participants to set personal and team goals, then provide the support needed in order to meet them. The thrill and pride exuded after they meet, or more often exceed, those goals is priceless.
In return, Jomel’s enthusiasm is contagious. He is also very persuasive. He is working on an Arc running team. The Arc’s participants motivate the staff just as much as The Arc staff motivates the participants. It is incredibly rewarding to see our participants blossom into members of the community. It inspires us to want to be better, too.
“I like to run,” said Jomel, who trains every day, cold or hot, rain or shine. “Running relaxes me and I can raise money while doing something fun.” Jomel doesn’t let his disability stop him. He doesn’t even think about stopping.
“Sometimes my arthritis hurts, and I have to go slow. But, I don’t give up on nothing!”