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Maria - transforming lives one mile at a time

Maria Duda

I joined Back on My Feet in May 2019. During that difficult period of my life, I sought to give back to the community while attempting to find my own footing.

Being a part of this organization has been, without a doubt, transformative and rewarding. Our morning huddles include hugs and a recitation of the Serenity prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” These rituals gently remind us that, while certain circumstances are beyond our control, we have the ability to determine how we show up and move forward. Moreover, they confirm what I have gleaned from both my professional and personal experiences: we yearn to connect with others, especially when life knocks us down and makes it difficult to get back on our feet.

What exactly is connection? I have come to define it is as the following:

• Feeling safe and comfortable to be vulnerable with others
• Having and providing an opportunity to share one’s narrative without judgement and shame
• Feeling accepted and understood
• Having and providing a shoulder to cry on
• Creating memories with others, whether it be watching the sunrise or enjoying an
impromptu 5:45AM accordion performance
• Receiving and inspiring the motivation and courage to move forward
• Sharing a smile or laugh
• Simply being present with others

I can wholeheartedly say that Back on My Feet supports and fosters connection. In fact, it is the driving force behind my decision to join its fundraising team during the Big Sur Marathon in April 2020; I want to spread awareness of its impact and support its mission to combat homelessness through running, community support, and essential employment and housing resources.

I am reaching out to all of you for support and encouragement as I embark on the 26.2-mile journey ahead of me. Your support - both monetary and emotional – are immensely appreciated!


To give you an idea of the impact your donation could have:
- $30 could provide a member with spring running gear
- $50 could provide a member with winter running gear
- $100 could provide a member the ability to celebrate with BoMF family during the year
- $250 could provide a member race fees, incentives to reach certain mileage milestones
- $500 could provide a member with education and job assistance
- $1,000 could provide a member with housing for a whole year


Volunteering at the F3 Half Marathon, 01/25/2020


Uptown Crew at the Waterfall Glenn outing, 09/07/2019


Impromptu accordion performance, 08/07/2019

Enjoying the sunrise, 08/07/2019


raised of $2,000 goal


Recent Donations

1. Monika Papierz
2. Patrick Campbell
Maria, you are an inspiration to so many. Deb and I wish you the very best 💕
3. Hannah Kiefer
4. Syed M Alavi
5. Jay Pandya
6. Jetty Bake