Many Yale students make the run up to East Rock, but not many do it to improve someone else’s fitness.
But starting after spring break, Adam Brenner ’05 will spend his Saturdays running with disabled New Haven residents as part of the Achilles Track Club, the new provisional Dwight Hall group he co-founded with suitemate Dennis Hong ’05.
Brenner and Hong started the club as a Yale chapter of a national organization, which organizes volunteers to run and walk with disabled children and adults.
Hong is a staff reporter for the Yale Daily News.
Brenner said he decided to start a Yale chapter of the organization after working at the Achilles Track Club in New York when he was in high school.
“It was amazing,” Brenner said of his work with the New York chapter. “More than anything, it’s a social experience where you talk to them and build their confidence about running and running with a handicap. At first they say ‘I can only do a mile,’ but then you talk to them and they do three miles, and then you work up to four. And you keep going from there.”
Achilles Track Club has applied for status as a Dwight Hall member group, but is currently a provisional member, with limited access to Dwight Hall resources.
“The great thing about the group is that Achilles is already an established group nationwide, and they’re just starting a new chapter,” said Margo Harrison ’03 , membership coordinator for Dwight Hall. “They’re bringing a nationwide group to New Haven, which is very exciting.”
Brenner said he and Hong have already recruited 10 to 12 volunteers to begin work with Achilles after spring break. The volunteers will go up to East Rock every Saturday afternoon, and run for about two hours with people whose disabilities may range from blindness to heart problems.
Harrison said she believes Achilles will make an important contribution to Dwight Hall.
“It’s opening a facet of Dwight Hall member groups that we haven’t dealt much with. We don’t have many groups that deal with disabilities. Hopefully we’ll get some more Dwight Hall member groups following their example.”
On Apr. 16, at their last cabinet meeting of the semester, the Dwight Hall cabinet members will vote on whether or not to give the Achilles Track Club full Dwight Hall member status, Harrison said.