I learned about today's Feel Good Friday organization, Girls on the Run from my friend Una, who is a volunteer coach at her local council.
What I love about Girls on the Run is the mission posted on their website, "We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running." The program began in Charlotte, NC in 1996 with a group of 13 girls and grew into the non-profit organization Girls on the Run International (GOTRI) in 2000.
Now GOTRI serves "over 168,000 girls in 225+ cities across North America each year". So what exactly do the 120,000 volunteer coaches do? They facilitate the curriculum with groups of 8-15 girls. The programs last between 10 and 12 weeks and are designed for girls in different age groups. All of the programs end with a Girls on the Run 5k event.
The after school program for 3rd - 5th graders focuses on "helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what's important to them. Then we look at the importance of team work and healthy relationships. And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world." Physical activity is woven into all the lessons to help build healthy habits.
Girls from 6th - 8th grade can choose from the Heart and Sole program, which is similar to what's offered to their younger counterparts and also includes help with other issues such as boundary setting and decision making. Girls in this age range can also participate in the Girls on Track program, which includes discussions and guidance around more mature topics such as "eating disorders, internet safety, relationships, cyber-bullying and tobacco and alcohol use."
All of these programs are designed to support the vision of Girls on the Run, "... a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams."
If you want to support this vision, you can! Volunteer as a coach or running buddy or donate some money. As always you can provide your support through social media by liking their Facebook page and following them on Twitter @GOTRI. You go, Girls on the Run!