These words were repeated by booming voices week after week from 16 unique young girls with the drive and energy to run the world (and a 5K)! When I first joined the Girls on the Run (GOTR) organization nearly 6 years ago, I did so as a teacher trying to get involved in my school and make connections with the community and my students. Up until that point I had completed a handful of 5Ks for fun, but never did I think about the race until the morning of, look at my time, or even consider training. It wasn't until I decided to join GOTR as a running buddy that I started to think that running might be the sport for me. Over time I continued to increase my volunteering with GOTR and eventually became a head coach. Although the program is intended to teach young girls 3rd-5th grade to be joyful, healthy, and confident, I found that it did those same things for me, a 24 year old at the time, each week.
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Last October, I was able to raise over $1,600 in order to run the Chicago Marathon as a GOTR Solemate. My current work with the program is as a Mission Adelaide volunteer. Being part of this committee, I have had the privilege of visiting sites to experience the beauty of the program firsthand with the girls and coaches, while also working to meet the team’s needs. My most recent site visit was at Johnson Elementary School in Fort Thomas.
Coach Erin Staff and her amazing entourage of girls enjoyed time together on Mondays and Fridays after school to learn critical life lessons, as well as train their bodies and minds to run the GOTR 5K at Sawyer Point in Cincinnati, OH on November 18th. While they didn’t have any critical needs this season, their biggest want for race day was a huge Fort Thomas crowd to cheer or run with them on that special morning. Throughout the spring season, it is my goal to help build the Girls on the Run vision throughout the community to bring a bigger Fort Thomas crowd to the start line and cheering sections in the spring. From that initial meet-and-greet lesson of the season, to the smiles plastered across their faces as they crossed the finish line, the transformation in confidence, character, care, connections, competence, and contribution was evident in each of the young girls. It is my hope that through advertising and fundraising for GOTR, more and more young girls will be given the chance to recognize their inner strength, altering the way they see themselves and their opportunities, as well as gaining a lifetime appreciation of health and wellness.
Johnson Elementary School Girls on the Run Team at Sawyer’s Point for the GOTR Fall 5K on November 18th.
Here’s How You Can Help:
-Start a New Site – Inspire young girls in your area
-Volunteer – Coach, Running Buddy, Race Day Volunteer, Mission Adelaide, and more!
-Make an Impact – One Time Donation, Monthly Giving, Fundraise, Solemates, Partner
-Register a Child – Know a young girl that would benefit from this program? Get her signed up for the spring season at your closest site!
Whether you are looking to start your journey as a runner or you simply want to get involved in the community, Girls on the Run could be the perfect fit for you. I encourage you to visit https://www.gotrcincinnati.org/ to learn more about the program and to get started on this journey with us!