Juliana Heffern is a former Residential Counselor and Athletics Instructor for Wediko Children’s Services. She is excited to participate in the Philadelphia Marathon on November 19 in order to raise much-needed funds for the children and families Wediko serves.
Her experience during the 2015 Wediko Summer Program gave her “… enormous respect for Wediko’s initiatives as well as lasting inspiration to continue advocating for children’s mental health.”
Juliana is a recent graduate of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, where she earned a B.S. degree in Psychology. She spent much of the past summer training for her first marathon.
Speaking to Wediko, Juliana stated that her involvement in many different kinds of sports growing up gave her an appreciation for the benefits of taking on new athletic challenges. She intends to inspire people to take on these challenges in the same manner she did, and to earn enough money for sport fundraisers so that those who are less fortunate can participate in various sports as well.
“I was drawn to commit myself to running in college when I realized that what I loved most about athletics did not revolve around specific team rules or uniforms. I just loved the feeling of getting my legs moving and pushing myself to become stronger. Running was something I knew I could do every day and that it provided me with mental clarity and a sense of personal accomplishment”, she said.
Last spring, Juliana raced in the “Seneca 7,” which is a 77.7 mile, 7-person relay around Seneca Lake in NY State. “There was great energy on my team throughout that day, and it was hugely satisfying when we crossed the finish line together. I knew then that I wanted to go for a marathon”.
She appreciates running as an endeavor that requires building the strength of mind at an even rate with the strength of body. Over time, she has learned to use different skills such as consistent positive self-talk to attain perseverance with higher mileage and faster paces.
“As my first marathon, I hope to have fun with it and to finish strong. I will definitely be channeling inspiration from the children and young people I got to work with and know during my Wediko summer!”
To support through donations, visit her fundraising page here