Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday Motivation: Martin Richard Foundation

April 15, 2013 changed so many lives in Boston. Our great city was under attack. We lost innocent lives and gained many survivors. The day sticks in my mind so clearly. Standing across from Roggie's in Brighton, watching the runners in groups coming by then slowly trickling in, till there were none. We were so confused. An eerie feeling came over us. My sister went on Facebook and instantly saw the viral photo of Jeff Bauman. We didn't know what to believe. What was happening? Was this real?

As crowds cleared out, our phones stopped working. We were getting calls from Oklahoma and Kentucky. Signals were getting crossed. Our parents terrified we couldn't be reached. Feeling lost and clueless, since this was our first ever trip to the Marathon, we decided our only option was to walk. And that's what we did. We walked and walked, all the way to Watertown where we found solace at a friend's house until our parents could pick us up. My sister's car was locked down in the city so we later had to retrieve it.

My family, as many Bostonians did, followed the news intently that day and the days after. We barely slept. When the news finally reported on the victims and the souls lost, my heart broke. Boston was devastated. A piece of our great city was taken that day. But we were resilient. We came together. We showed our support. Our love. Our will to never give up. We were fearless, we are fearless. And with that, today I share a special charitable organization that is near and dear to the heart of all Bostonians.

Martin Richard Foundation

The Martin W. Richard Charitable Foundation Inc. is a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation formed by the parents of eight-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed in the bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013. In the days after the bombing, a photo of Martin holding a handmade poster that read “No more hurting people. Peace” was shared over the internet and made many see Martin as a symbol of peace. Martin was an 8-year-old boy who loved learning, sports and the world around him. The way Martin saw the world, anything was possible. While he could usually be found playing baseball, basketball, street hockey, or flag football, Martin’s love of the Boston Marathon grew as he participated in the BAA Children’s Relay on Marathon weekend with his community track team for three consecutive years. A team player, he enjoyed guiding younger kids to their positions and helping them out during the game.

It is fitting that the Foundation should honor Martin's message of peace by investing in education, athletics and community. The mission is simple: The Martin Richard Foundation honors Martin's message of "No more hurting people. Peace" by investing in education, athletics and community.  Martin Richard’s view of peace went well beyond simply wanting to prevent violence. To Martin, peace meant things like togetherness, teamwork, fairness, sportsmanship, inclusion, and simple acts of kindness. His Foundation strives to encourage youth and adults to improve the lives of others and become bridge builders, peacemakers, leaders and entrepreneurs. We truly feel the same way and hope to instill a little bit of this into our readers.

No More Hurting People. Peace.

This foundation drives Boston's pride. We are determined to bring peace through Martin's message, the way he would want us to. Join us in getting involved by becoming part of Team MR8. Named for Martin’s initials and his sports number, Team MR8 was formed immediately after the announcement of the Martin Richard Foundation in January 2014 as a means for marathon runners to raise needed funds for the advancement of the charity’s mission. In the days and weeks after the bombing at the Boston Marathon, Little League teams began their season in Dorchester and the surrounding Boston neighborhoods. Remembering that Martin scrawled MR on every baseball he owned, many of his friends and teammates did the same on the sides of their hats as a way to honor Martin in their first season without him.

Bill and Denise Richard, Martin's parents, thought it fitting that the Foundation’s team of runners be named accordingly. The inaugural team of 102 was assembled to be a diverse group that included personal friends and total strangers, teachers and coaches, first responders, doctors and nurses, journalists, entrepreneurs, CEOs, a member of Congress, two Wounded Warriors and one active soldier who ran his 26.2 miles in Afghanistan. Just as important, Team MR8 also included parents who love their families and work tirelessly to strengthen their own communities, and students and other young people who already know they can and should work to make the world a better place. The Foundation received applications from more than 35 states, as well as from Europe, Asia, and South America. Truly amazing.

You can join Team MR8 to participate in such events as the Boston Marathon, Falmouth Road Race, and New York City Marathon. If running isn't your thing, you can get involved by purchasing Team MR8 apparel, in which proceeds contribute to Martin's inspiring words of giving back to communities in the world through peace and kindness. This is how we plan to get involved for now and we challenge you to do the same. Together we can devour the details of creating peace across communities and eventually the world, just like Martin wanted.

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