Moving ME Forward was established in 2013, but founder Robert “Bob” Brainerd began planting the seeds for this 501(c)(3) years before. As a Nationally Certified and State Licensed Athletic Trainer and co-owner of Central Maine Conditioning Clinic, Bob has been inspiring and coaching people of all levels of abilities to achieve their health and fitness goals for more than 30 years. His passion for helping others extends beyond the office doors and billable hours; he believes “giving back should always start in our own communities.” Bob imagined propagating a greater way to “help others give back the gift of health.”
With a vision of cultivating social change in the areas of health and fitness within our Maine communities, Moving ME Forward’s mission is to provide mentors, resources, and programming that inspires health and fitness professionals to develop strategies to promote this social change. Each year, MMF awards $10,000 in grant monies to professionals who have developed seed projects that meet the MMF’s vision and mission. Within the first five years, these seeds planted by MMF began to spread and to grow within the community.
MMF helped to establish an experiential Personal Health and Fitness Specialist associate’s degree program at Central Maine Community College to prepare students to enter various fields within exercise science. Nearly 50 students have enrolled in the program where they immediately begin working within our communities to give back by delivering health and fitness programming. Under supervision, annually PHF students contribute to:
- Staffing the Mustang Fitness Center at CMCC which services 400 students and staff as well 100 community members by providing personal training, injury management, fitness testing, and group exercise classes.
- Servicing 250 Hebron Academy students through athletic training, combine testing, and strength and conditioning programming.
- Supporting 30 Alzheimer’s disease patients and their caregivers through a Mindful Mobility exercise class.
Following graduation, 37% of the students are now working in jobs that support MMF’s mission in our local area.
Moving ME Forward also cultivates social change and in the larger community. With 120 participants, the members of MMF Running Club encourage one another to work toward fitness goals, volunteer at local events, and establish running clubs in their own schools and towns. MMF further provides 90 senior citizens with an opportunity to socialize and to encourage others to participate in supervised swimming, walking, tennis, and stretching through the Fitness Friends program at Bates College. Through these programs, the mission of MMF ripples outward throughout our community.
Funds for Moving ME Forward are generated through the fees of 400+ participants in the annual Lake Auburn Half Marathon, 5k Run/Walk and Kids Fun Run, Moving ME Forward Running Club fees, corporate sponsors, grant applications, and donation collections through programs such as RunSign-Up, Amazon Smile, and Rooper’s Redemption.
Moving ME Forward recognizes the importance of working with other non-profit organizations to grow healthier communities by annually donating collected goods and intern hours. Over $10,000 is donated to causes including the Good Shepherd Food Bank, St. Mary’s Nutrition Center, Trinity Jubilee Center, Auburn’s Police Athletic League, Tree Street Youth, New Beginnings, and local high school and college athletic programs each year.
As community members continue to branch out and to give back to one another, Moving ME Forward is pleased to see this ripple effect which defines the success of this organization.