Welcome to the Red Boot Way
As founder of the largest non-profit girls running club in the universe, Molly Barker started her presentation by sharing a story of when she was 14 in the 1970s. She grew up in a “well to do” neighbor-hood in the south. Her mother had recently started running recreationally, which was uncommon for women in those days, and a strange sight for neighbors. The funny thing was, even
tough her mother looked sort of ridiculous dressed up running with her make-up and fancy hairdo, after some time Molly noticed her mother showing significant changes and improvements in attitude and behavior. This created a strong curiosity which eventually led to Molly joining her mother on some of those runs, forming a deeper bond with her mother and increasing her personal image of freedom.
In the following years during adolescent experiences known to all teenagers, running became a confidence-booster even as it competed with culturalism and various high school pressures. Unfortunately, running wasn’t enough to counter all the struggles of social adversities and relationships that ultimately lead Molly down a 20-year path of good times, bad times and scary addictions. Then came July 7, 1993, when she remembered her mother’s earlier running experience and what she felt back then when she would run with her. From that day forward, running became a life-changing routine that helped her transcend all labels and stereotypes. She was able to better define her own identity – a tremendous turning point.
Three years later, “Girls on the Run” was born to Molly and later the world. Fast forward 17 years, after helping countless girls find joy and confidence similar to hers, Molly decided it was time to “retire” from the organization she loved and founded, even though she had no idea what she was going to do. But not long after, in 2013, she was approached by an official from Washington, DC to recruit her to serve on a political board created to improve relations among political figures. Besides being stunned by the inquiry, she couldn’t think of a good reason not to join up, so she moved to Washington for two years to serve with this group. At one point when asked, “What do you think is the problem?”, her response came from the heart. “We all are.”
After finishing her term in 2016, she found herself in another dark night of soul experience. It became clear that the polarization of our country was at an all-time high and she felt she just needed some perspective, so she rented a Mustang convertible and hit the road. She wanted to find out for herself what was wrong with America and she wanted to hear the stories first-hand from other perspectives. To her surprise, she found common threads in the struggle between joy and justice along with the importance of making room for “looking for the good” in others and the world-at-large.
On this journey at 57 years of age, Molly had her first conversations with others about racism, white privilege, and the disbelief of America now. Her experiences became imprinted in her brain and henceforth came The Red Boot Coalition, a way of life that practices intentional communication to bring joy and compassion to the hearts of individual Americans.
If you would like to contact Molly Barker and learn more about her newest venture and big idea to help reduce the gaps of miscommunication and separation, please visit www.theredbootway.org or firstname.lastname@example.org and plug into her social media platforms.