On the Run

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ED Nurse Laces Up to Help Homeless

by Jennifer Walker

Last January, Amy Hoffmann, BS ’10, RN, a three-time participant in the Marine Corps Marathon, went out for her first 5:30 a.m. run with Back on My Feet (BoMF), a nonprofit organization that helps homeless populations increase confidence, improve strength, and move into self-sufficiency through running. This was one month before she started working as a nurse clinician in the Adult Emergency Department. Hoffmann says it works out well that these two important aspects of her life coincided; she gained a new perspective that she could take to her nursing practice.

Back on My Feet

Amy Hoffmann (right) gains new perspectives for her nursing practice by running with her Back on My Feet teammates such as Steven (left).

At the hospital “we serve everyone, including people who are experiencing homelessness,” she says. “Now when I get to know these patients, I’m thinking of ways we can break this cycle of homelessness. Back on My Feet made me feel empowered to say, ‘I’ve seen success before.’”

Hoffmann has been particularly inspired by Steven, a BoMF teammate who lives at one of the five Baltimore shelters with BoMF teams. Steven is a broad man that others may not qualify as athletic, but he ran the Baltimore half marathon this past October. He also recently earned his GED and has plans to take college classes. In September Hoffmann attended his graduation from the shelter’s twelve-month recovery program, where she listened to him encourage others who are also in recovery. “He’s so dedicated to changing his life,” she says. “His positive energy spills forth. It inspires me.”

BoMF, which is currently active in nine cities, is always looking for members of all athletic abilities. “The first morning you can expect that you’re going to hug strangers, that you’re going to be welcomed with open arms, and that you’re going to enjoy yourself,” Hoffmann says. “You can’t help but get excited to get out, even at those really early times, to get your blood flowing and have those conversations. There’s just no feeling like it.”

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