Dreamfar High School Marathon is New England’s first high school marathon program. Dreamfar was founded in 2008 by Jamie Chaloff, a special education teacher in Newton, Massachusetts and Victor Acosta, an endurance coach with over 20 years in the nonprofit sector. Jamie herself a rebel in high school, was drawn to the students who fell through the cracks; she knew there had to be a way to motivate them to be the best they could be. In 2004 Jamie completed her first marathon. Reaching the finish line was one of the most empowering moments of her life. It was that moment that everything “clicked,” and the dream of starting a high school marathon program began.
Dreamfar is modeled after the wildly successful Students Run LA program. The inaugural team was made up of nine students from Newton South high school. They trained with Dreamfar to successfully complete the Cox Providence Marathon in Rhode Island. Over the last four years the program added 1 to 2 new school and experienced significant growth in student participation each year. To date, over 200 students from ten schools in the greater Boston area have trained for and run the Providence Marathon with Dreamfar. Next season we will be joined by two more Boston Public Schools. Dreamfar will be piloting a program in the Southcoast area. We welcome City on A Hill, Dartmouth High, and Old Rochester Regional High.
Dreamfar gives students the opportunity to realize the significant achievement of completing a marathon, through a training program that values mentorship, dedication, hard work and support.
Dreamfar is a recognized 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Our hope is to one day reach every high school in New England.
Our Growth Timeline
Dreamfar was introduced in Newton South in 2008 as an after-school club by Jamie Chaloff, a special education teacher with a vision of helping students that fall through the cracks. In 2009, nine students successfully crossed the finish line of the Cox Providence Marathon and their lives were forever changed. After completing the marathon, eight of the students stepped way out of their comfort zone and took a leadership role to serve on the board of the newly constructed Chestnut Street Teen Center in Newton.
Newton South was joined by Newton North (a rare occurrence in Newton). The program grew three-fold, training 27 students to run in Providence.
Dreamfar obtained 501(c)3 non-profit status. Brookline and Sharon High Schools joined the Dreamfar family and Dreamfar formed a partnership with Mentor Connection in Newton, MA. Thirty-nine students toed the starting line in Providence.
Two Boston Public Schools—Urban Science Academy & Charlestown High—joined Dreamfar; the team was 55 students strong. Thanks to a significant award, Dreamfar was able to officially hire a part-time Executive Director and two part-time Coaches.
Mary Lyon, another Boston Public School, and Medford High joined Dreamfar; eighty students experienced the gifts of the marathon. Dreamfar made great strides in the running community, organizing its first official race, the Dreamfar 10K, and partnering with the John Hancock Non-Profit Boston Marathon program.
Dreamfar welcomed Needham High and three new Boston Public Schools: Dorchester Academy, Tech Boston Academy and West Roxbury Academy. A partnership with the brand-new Brookline Teen Center gave Dreamfar an official new Saturday “home”. Behind the scenes, the program hosted its inaugural Dreamfar Breakfast of Champions, which honored Boston Marathon race director Dave McGillivray. The program is able to hire its first full-time staff members and looks forward to training a team of 100+ students.
The program welcomed three new schools: Arlington High, and Boston Public Schools, Boston Community Leadership Academy (BCLA) and Madison Park. After training through the snowiest winter on record in Boston, 110 students completed the program and raced in Providence. Two of these students raced for the fourth time making them the first Dreamfar students to complete a marathon in each of their four years of high school.
Dreamfar is excited to share the news - we are piloting a new program in the Southcoast area of Massachusetts; Dartmouth High, City on a Hill and Old Regional Rochester High have joined the program. The students will train in the Southcoast region and join the Boston area teams for races and special events. Dreamfar also welcomes ABCD Dorchester and Match Charter High School in Boston. We are currently working with 15 Massachusetts high schools. Two more Dreamfar students will be completing their fourth year in the Dreamfar program - these students have been afforded the opportunity to run in the Boston Marathon. Inclusion is at the forefront of Dreamfar, we are thrilled to announce our new partnership with Partners for Youth with Disabilities!
Global Learning Charter School joined the Southcoast area Dreamfar program. Dreamfar also becomes partners with Mass Mentoring Partnership and is now classified as a quality-based mentoring program. Almost every Saturday during the winter months of our training season it snowed – Dreamfar students and mentors persevered and 120 high school students crossed the finish line of the Providence Marathon! Dreamfar added the Newton 10K road race to its program.
Dreamfar continues to empower high school students by sharing the “gifts of the marathon”. Gifts come wrapped in so many different packages – for some it is the gift of confidence and for others it is the gift of improved health; for all it is feeling connected, welcome, respected and accepted! Stay tuned for 2018 highlights…