The Finish Line is Just the Beginning: Girls on the Run
Do you remember your first big accomplishment? Ever? The first time you put your mind to something and then achieved your goal? Maybe you can’t remember your very first big accomplishment, but you can remember the feelings of your last achievement. Pride. Empowered. Exhilarated. These are the same feelings instilled by one of our favorite non-profits, Girls on the Run (GOTR).
GOTR is an after-school, learning program for third- through eighth-grade girls that teaches life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and creatively integrating running. It is typically based at local elementary schools, or in some cases hosted by a local YMCA. The program empowers participants through lessons on confidence, responsibility, cooperation and more. At the end of the 10-week program, the participants complete their first 5K run. Additionally, each school’s program is led by coaches that range from the school’s PE teacher, administrators, or volunteers from the community.
There is nothing like attending a GOTR 5K. Like us, you may show up thinking you are there to support a young girl meet her goal, but you leave bubbling over with joy. The experience is such an empowering one that you may leave feeling like the girls have done more good warming your soul than you have done theirs.
We fell in love with GOTR because it naturally promotes two areas we are passionate about, fitness and empowering young girls. Our background with the organization began with Shawnie getting involved with the Los Angeles chapter a few years ago. She urged CaCera to sign up as a running buddy for one of the LA chapter’s 5K, and the rest has been history. CaCera now volunteers and is a board member for the Memphis chapter, which launched at three schools in August.
From youth football and cheerleading programs, to organizations like GOTR, we believe exposing little ones to movement of any kind can only have long-lasting positive effects. In fact, studies show exposing children to physical activity not only builds strong bones and muscles, but also promotes academic achievement, positive mental health, and improves classroom behavior. Healthline.com states less than half 6 to 7 year old children meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Social Services. The recommendation is at least one hour of physical activity each day.
Is there a youth organization you feel passionately about? Maybe it focuses on the arts, teaches lessons on discipline, or provides extended exposure to STEM, we’d love to hear about it. Leave us a line in the comments below. For more information on how GOTR inspires girls through running, check out GirlOnTheRun.org. Both the Memphis and LA chapters have their fall 5K dates coming soon. Peep the info on the right for information on how you can volunteer or sign up.