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High Point University students hit ground running with new club for Penn-Griffin School for the Arts

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HIGH POINT, N.C. — Two Piedmont university students are giving back to the community by sharing their love of exercise and healthy living.

Ashley Banegas and Gabby Kozlowski are juniors at High Point University and volunteers at Penn-Griffin School for the Arts in High Point. The two created a new club at the school called the "Macedonia Milers Running Club". Banegas said they started the club because the community neede a fun and healthy activity.

"Do something for the kids where the kids can interact, have a safe space to be in, be able to be healthy and have healthy habits and be educated on how to take care of themselves for healthy habits in adult life," said Banegas.

The High Point University students and four Penn-Griffin students lace up their running shoes and stretch. Kozlowski is thrilled the club is off to a fast start.

"It's been really exciting to get it running," Kozlowski said. "We have kids out here every day who love to run. It's really encouraging and really exciting to see all of your hard work pay off."

Named after the nearby Macedonia Family Resource Center, the "Macedonia Milers" meet every Monday and Wednesday. Rachel is one of the Penn-Griffin students that is a member of the running club. While the school year is about two months old, Rachel can tell she is getting stronger and healthier.

"I could barely run a mile, and now I can run a mile and a half without stopping," said Rachel.

They make several laps around the track, encouraging each other to keep pace. Banegas explained that the encouragement continues off of the track.

"If you are able to push yourself, you can do more than you think," said Banegas. "You are more encouraged to do things, and it motivates you to be healthy and active and do better in school, academics. You are more encouraged to do stuff," added Banegas.

Joe Blosser is the High Point University Culp Director of Service Learning. Blosser said the work done by Banegas and Kozlowski shows the positive impacts High Point University students have on their community.

"I'm always excited when students find their passion," said Blosser. "When they find that place where the assets and the needs in our community connect with the things they want to learn in college, that excite them and the things they want to do with their life."

The "Macedonia Milers" have a few more weeks of training. Their first event is the Misletoe Run in Winston-Salem on Dec. 7.

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