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April marks our fifth year of programming - what started in the Spring of 2010 as a simple idea to bring free, life-changing, quality programming to girls in Santa Cruz County has turned into a worldwide organization. The impact of Mini Mermaid on women and girls and families and teachers and neighbors is awe-inspiring.


In five short years, Mini Mermaids has grown from one school to 194 sites.  We’ve served 4700 girls in 13 states and 8 countries.  87% of our programming is delivered for FREE to girls who are living at or below the poverty line.  It takes my breath away when I stop and look at it - and then I quickly get back to the task at hand as we grow and stretch to keep pursuing our mission which is to teach every girl to lead a healthy life by listening to her inner voice, valuing her uniqueness, learning to love movement and discovering the finish line is just the beginning. 


As one coach wrote after finishing the graduation 5k with her team, "I'm going to miss seeing these sweet faces every week. I just love these girls! This is why I coach mini mermaids! These sweet faces. I know that they all have learned something valuable about themselves and how very strong and able they are. They have learned how to silence siren and listen to their mini mermaid thoughts! Wow, wish I learned that when I was in first grade;). Watching these girls run with that determination was inspiring! I am changed from running with these girls. Very powerful experience! One girl at a time can make a difference."


Thanks for being on this ride with us, for supporting our work. With out the help of friends, family, volunteers and all the generous financial donations, we wouldn't be able to keep reaching our arms out wide as we grow every day. 



Mini Mermaid Running Club Executive Director, Heidi Boynton, is gearing up for Run Sweat Love.  She’ll be running 8 half marathons to raise awareness for the program and for every girl who hasn’t yet learned she matters.  Heidi says, “These 105 miles are for her. They are for every coach who says “YES!” to giving up six weeks of her life after long hard days working, teaching, and living life. They are for every girl who doesn’t know yet SHE HAS A VOICE. It took me a long time to find my voice, the one that came from me, from my bravery and not from my fear. The voice I found (and am still finding EVERY day) pushes me through life, it consoles me when this life gives me a beating and it softens when I need to know love not shame – this voice is mine. Every footfall, I hear that voice and it tells me “I AM OK, no matter what”.  We’re not sure how many footfalls make up 105 miles.  What we do know is every step Heidi takes, every mile she runs, is dedicated to a single girl. A future Mini Mermaid! 


Heidi's Itinerary:

April 20 Day 1 - Fremont

April 21 Day 2 - Sacramento

April 22 Day 3 - San Jose

April 23 Day 4 - Santa Cruz

April 24 Day 5 - Watsonville

April 27 Day 6 - San Diego

April 28 Day 7 - Chula Vista

April 29 Day 8 - El Nino, Mexico


Feel free to email for more info regarding heidi's running route for each location.


Help Heidi make this dream of 105 miles and 105 girls a reality. She has raised enough to cover 49 girls. 56 to go!!! PLEASE DONATE. It will fill up YOUR heart with pure Mini Mermaid LOVE. It will make a difference in a young girl’s life. Go ahead and take the plunge!



MORGAN HILL, CA Sessions begin the week of September 14, end at Morgan Hill Marathon 5K Oct. 25

SAN FRANCISCO, CA Sessions begin the week of September 21, ends at Mermaid Series 5k Nov. 1



Arin Hunt is a dedicated 2nd grade teacher at Del Mar Elementary in Santa Cruz, a Mini Mermaid coach and the mom of two AMAZING Mini Mermaids, Asali and Ayana.  Arin has coached for the past 4 years and has helped grow the program into a living, thriving piece of the Del Mar Elementary School culture.  When asked what drew her to Mini Mermaids, she said "the whole program just seemed so positive and uplifting and enthusiastic. I wanted to be part of that and I wanted my daughters to be around women who showed them how to live life fully with spirit and love and laughter and tears."  Arin watched from the sidelines as the inagural session of Mini Mermaids unfolded on the Del Mar campus and knew she had to be involved.  Not only did she think the t-shirts were adorable, she also saw the growth and change in the girls who participated, many of whom had been her students.  In her own words: 


"Before Mermaids my last years running were as a high school athlete and even then it was what we did for punishment and endurance.  The first year I coached, I started out thinking I could put on a happy face and endure the running part, but I discovered that running with the girls on my team wasn't painful and awful; it was fun and it actually felt good. I decided maybe I didn't hate running. When the program ended I kept feeling that itch… I couldn't stop. I just needed to keep lacing my shoes and leave the house. I can absolutely say that running is probably my most effective way of taking care of myself these days. I use it to relieve stress, to find calm, to puzzle out things I'm struggling with. In the last few years running has gotten me through some tough times, and some glorious times too. Step by step I ran my way through the days and weeks after my mom died. And that same summer I got up the courage to sell our house in Watsonville and move back to Santa Cruz by running the streets and beaches here while my kids were at summer camp.  With every step I was thinking, "We could live HERE. We could live HERE.  We could live HERE," in the rhythm of my pace.


I know Mermaids has been good for my daughters. I think every girl should have this program. There's something about having a safe space outside your own family to voice your fears and your celebrations that gives you confidence to cope with the surprises life brings. I know that my daughters need to get a healthy dose of this energy from people other than me. And it's comforting to be able to share my advice, ideas, thoughts and feelings with my students and former students who are sometimes more able to accept it from me. I feel like Mermaids is one of those "it takes a village" communities where all of us give what we can and collectively everyone gets what they need back.


Both of my girls are stronger runners and more committed to their own fitness than they were before Mermaids. I love the balance of being supported on a team without the pressure of competition. Some days they have pushed themselves really hard as runners, other days they have made it a priority to run with their friends and relax. Mermaids makes room for all these goals and everything in between."


Like many of our coaches, Arin has been able to share the journey and the joy of Mini Mermaids with her daughters.  Ayana is now charging through middle school, playing sports and feeling confident even in the midst of the challenges middle school brings.  Asali is a joyful 4th grader who loves "the talking part (of Mini Mermaids) because you get to share what you're feeling at school and at home. Mini Mermaids helps you with your feelings and it's fun because you get to be in a club with your friends."


Above all else Mini Mermaids has given Arin's girls, the students at Del Mar, and all Mini Mermaids a vocabulary to accept themselves fully, including their pain, fear and mistakes.



We are FUELED by our volunteers and we want you to get involved. 

Coaches: No experience required, must be female over the age of 18. Commit to six weeks (12 1.5hour sessions) in your community and help girls discover how very much they matter. 

Coach Assistant: No experience required. Female. Commit to assisting a coach with a team of 10 girls for six weeks (12 - 1.5 hour sessions). 

Office Help: Come to MMRC HQ in Santa Cruz. General office work. 

Email: for more details




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