A Corpsmember's Roman Holiday

This story originally appeared in LA Conservation Corps' E-Newsletter

Brian Langston, one of our outstanding corpsmembers who currently works in our Administrative Offices as an IT assistant, recently had the trip of a lifetime. He traveled to Rome, Italy in March for two weeks to run the Rome Marathon and to take in the sights of this historic city.

How did this come about, you ask? Well, it happened by chance, really. While attending Los Angeles Trade Technical College, a surprise speaker by the name of Judge Craig Mitchell came to Brian's class to talk about his difficult beginnings. He chronicled how he overcame the challenges of homelessness and illiteracy to become a school teacher, and then Los Angeles County Superior Court judge. Having a similar background, Brian was inspired by Judge Mitchell's story, and stepped outside of his comfort zone to speak up and ask the judge if they could keep in contact. To this request, Judge Mitchell invited Brian to join the Midnight Mission Running Club that he leads each week.

The rest, as they say, is history. Just by reaching out to a potential mentor for guidance, Brian went from running casually with the group on Skid Row, to running in the 2014 LA Marathon, to running in this year's Rome Marathon. Brian says that he's inspired by all of the generous supporters of his journey, and continues on because he wants to show his supporters that investing in him was worthwhile.

As for his time in Rome, Brian says "it was a dream" and that taking this trip made him realize the importance of coming back to Los Angeles to "do better in life." He also remarked that taking this trip across the pond showed him that world is much bigger than he originally thought. It opened his mind to more things that he wants to do.

Brian hopes to inspire other young people to get involved with the running group, and to help them take advantage of the same life-changing opportunities that made such a wonderful difference in his life.

We look forward to great things from Brian in the future!

To learn more about Judge Mitchell and his running club, check out these links:

Skid Row Marathon
NPR Story: From Skid Row to Rome
LA Weekly Article: Ex-Addicts Head for Rome Marathon