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Sports Backers Blog

Kids Run RVA Profiles: Teresa Kessler, Kids Run RVA Volunteer of the Year

By: Chaz Coleman, Kids Run RVA Program Manager


Teresa Kessler

Teresa Kessler

I had the opportunity to sit down with the Kids Run RVA (KRRVA) Volunteer of the Year Teresa Kessler! She is a Physical Education (PE) teacher and has been Head Coach at Lakeside Elementary in Henrico County for the past four years. With her trusted assistants Martha Hodges and Anne Looney by her side, Teresa has managed a very successful run club. This past fall, she had a whopping 119 kids sign up for the kaléo Marathon Jr! This was the most out of the 28 KRRVA schools that participated. Teresa credits word of mouth, great communication with the parents, and excellent promotion as her pillars for the continued growth and success of the Lakeside Run Club. “The parents really know me,” Kessler explains. “I send out a letter that really breaks down what run club is, and I even start an email or text list expressing gratitude for letting their kids join run club.” The kids who have done it before are so excited to share it as well. Teresa goes around putting up running shoes in each classroom for the kids who have signed up for the race. She is willing to put in a little extra work to make sure the kids are excited!

Right to Left: Looney, Kessler, and Hodges

Every run club is different, and it is important that coaches know what will work for their school and community. Teresa has a unique practice schedule that she utilizes for Lakeside. “I offer up run club to the whole school,” Kessler said. “We have two days that are Pre- Kindergarten through Second grade, two days with our Third grade through Fifth grade, and on Friday it is open only to the students who have signed up for the Marathon Jr.” As a bonus, kids who have signed up for the race can come all five days no matter what grade they are. Practices take place in the mroning, as soon as the kids get off the bus. Morning sessions might not work for every school, but it allows Kessler to reach more kids and it seems to be working! Kids Run RVA is currently seeking more volunteer coaches for 2020, so if you’re inspired by Teresa Kessler’s work, apply online here by January 5th!

Check out the rest of our interview below:

Chaz Coleman: What traits define you?

Teressa Kessler: I am very organized and enthusiastic, especially about my job, and can relate with people. I am excited about getting my kids enthusiastic about being healthy and looking for that lifelong activity that they can do. I also feel that I can reach our older and younger kids by understanding their development.

CC: If you had 30 minutes of free time what would you do?

TK: It would either be reading or water aerobics/walking. I love to read, and the water helps my joints to get moving!

CC: What advice would you give to yourself at age 13?

TK: I would probably tell myself not to worry so much about what other people think about you. Growing up I had low self-esteem because of my weight and wasn’t the best athlete. I was always worried a lot about what other people had to say. That’s why I would say to embrace and enjoy the things that you want to do and have FUN!

CC: What one food do you wish had zero calories?

Sporting her Kids Run RVA gear!


TK: I wish supreme pizza had zero calories. I love my meats and veggies!

CC: Would you rather be a cat or dog?

TK: I would rather be a dog. I strive to give unconditional love like dogs, so I am definitely more of a dog person.

CC: Last question. How do you define success?

TK: Success is being true to yourself. It is not the material things, it is being an authentic person. You can’t worry about what the world thinks all the time. As a teacher, my role is to impact the kids. It is not the athletes I have to reach, because they already love PE, but the ones that roll out of bed dreading PE class that day. I feel like I have been a successful teacher because I have motivated those types of kids throughout my career.

If you would like to make an impact on the kids in the Richmond region by becoming a Kids Run RVA coach like Teresa then please apply online here by January 5th!

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