At schools across the country, registration has begun for the fall “Girls on the Run” season which will start this month and last for 12 weeks, culminating in a 5K run. The GOTR program supports girls grades three through five, teaching problem-solving, team-building, and self-confidence through running-related activities.
Girls on the Run was founded in 1996 in Charlotte NC by Molly Barker. Molly created the program to help girls cope with negativity and stereotypes that they experience in adolescence. Since its inception, Girls on the Run has served more than 600,000 girls across the country. Barker was honored this July as the 4,999th Daily Point of Light, a recognition started by former President George HW Bush for people who make a difference.
The Girls on the Run curricula provides girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences. Lessons tackle bullying, self-esteem, and standing up for yourself and others. Each girl learns to express joy, optimism, and gratitude in addition to the nurturing of her physical health through running.
Many programs also incorporate a community service project, instilling a sense of “paying it forward” that the girls carry with them through life.
Each year, in 200+ cities across the US, more than 130,000 girls will join the Girls on the Run program. More than 55,000 volunteers are also needed to serve as coaches and running buddies. The runs are not timed, and every girl gets a medal when she crosses the finish line that proves she can accomplish anything in life. Race bibs are often marked only with number “1” – telling the girls that they are truly “Number One.”
To find a council near you, visit www.girlsontherun.org/locations. Don’t have a location near you? Consider starting one! Visit www.girlsontherun.org/get-involved/start-a-council. Applications are accepted and reviewed twice a year.
Girls on the Run (www.girlsontherun.org)
Asbury Park Press: Girls on the Run program builds strength, self-esteem
Charlotte Observer: Girls on the Run’s Molly Barker Honored as Point of Light