POCATELLO, Idaho - The concept behind the goal of the 100-Mile Club program is simple - have kids log 100 miles each school year and they are bound to succeed both academically while leading healthier lifestyles.
The program's CEO and founder Kara Lubin was teaching special education at the elementary school level in California when she realized she needed a way to make her students excited to come to class everyday while achieving academic success at an early age, which can be a daunting task for any teacher.
"They needed something to build them up and to make them look forward to coming to school, but instead they had six and a half hours of 'can't,'" Lubin said. "I had to give them a 'can.' I just had to."
So, she challenged her students to strive toward that 100-mile goal each school year. Every morning she would take her students out for a walk or a run, and they would log their miles. By the end of the year, the goal was to have each student complete at least 100 miles both in and out of school.
She said she quickly noticed a tremendous difference in their attitudes becoming more positive, their moods becoming brighter, and they all started doing extremely well on their exams.
"It changes them from a child who believes they can't do anything to a child who believes that any thing is possible. If you can teach a child that anything is possible, then you've won. You've won the game," Lubin added.
This trend quickly took-off and spread to more than 100,000 elementary school student participants throughout the country.
"Occasionally your students will be at Wal Mart or even Disneyland and see another kid with the 100 Mile Club t-shirt on, and they'll give each other that, 'yo, what's up?' look. They feel like they're now a part of an elite group. They feel like they're now a part of something."
The Portneuf Health Care Foundation board sifted through the annual pile of grant requests and discovered Lubin's program was part of that grant request pile, which was requested by one Idaho State University staff member and local community 100-Mile Club leader Carol Kirkpatrick.
The foundation's executive assistant Suzanne Riley said this program was one they felt strongly standing behind and donated $17,405 to the program.
"This specific grant fit within our mission," Riley said. "It really motivates kids to become more active and lead a healthier lifestyle and that's what we're looking for."
For Lubin, her 100 mile challenge was more than just crossing the finish line. It was motivating students to allow them to cross that finish line with her, both physically, and in everyday life.
"Once you do that, you'll realize anything is possible so you can apply it to doing better on tests, or saying, 'I want to get into this school,' or 'I want to sign up for baseball this year because now I'm strong enough to do it.'"
Four elementary schools in Pocatello will be jumping on board this year: Indian Hills, Tendoy, and Jefferson. This is the second year Gate City elementary will be participating.