Culture Relay

B YourselfTeaching girls life skills through culture exchange.


Name: Tracey Abbott

Age: 38

Hometown: Homewood, Ala.

What is Culture Relay?

Culture Relay’s mission is to empower high school girls with life skills by cultivating a cross-cultural virtual exchange and teaching the principles of running. Our end goal is to provide girls the path to realize their full and unique potential. Culture Relay has double meaning: First, it is to relay culture and health/fitness information back and forth between team members and second, it is a relay race where participants finish a race by handing off to one another in real time.

How did Culture Relay evolve?

I ran more than 1000 miles last year. At the same time, I was deciding what to do for my Henry Crown Fellowship project with the Aspen Institute ( While training for the 2013 New York Marathon, I decided I should combine my greatest passions into a social enterprise: education, health and fitness, running, business, culture, and exploration. Culture Relay was born.

How do the girls learn about each other?

1) Classroom sessions consisting of one hour each weekend (education on global competencies and job skills like goal setting, planning, overcoming challenges, developing stamina, and using your network), followed by physical running sessions to take them from ‘the couch to a 10k’ twice per week with a race coach.

2) Virtual pen pals 1:1 communication each week via Skype, Instagram, and What’s App

What are the expected outcomes for Culture Relay?

1) Expose: Enlarge Minds includes establishing a network of trust between individuals and groups to promote tolerance in our global communities. We do this through increasing cultural awareness between girls from different backgrounds in the developed and developing world and broadening perspectives on a variety of issues facing girls around the world.

2) Empower: Improve Health includes improving mental and physical health of girls through focus on sports as a means to learn job skills. We do this through exposing girls to key success factors important in the job market, empowering girls to reach for their full potential, and emphasizing the importance of exercise and nutrition in creating well-rounded health.

3) Engage: Enrich Communities includes inspiring grass roots, long lasting impact by creating young, influential change agents through incubating and accelerating social enterprise in local communities, creating and mobilizing teams working on prioritized challenges facing local communities, raising community awareness of the importance of local female social enterprise champions, and bringing improved socioeconomic conditions to neighborhoods.

How can people get involved? Go to to see how to join us and support us. Follow us @culturerelay on Twitter and Instagram for latest news. Join our fundraising charity team and run the NY Marathon as part of Culture Relay.

Interview and photograph by Angela Karen

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