INSPIRED IMPACT is an ongoing blog series that gives voice to mission-driven organizations and passionate leaders and entrepreneurs who are making an impact in their communities and industries.
WHAT DO YOU DO?
Girls on the Run is a positive youth development program that meets with girls all over the country after-school during the fall and spring seasons. Over the course of the 10-week program, running and other physical activities serve as a platform for teaching life skills and promoting holistic health outcomes in girls.
WHY DO YOU DO IT?
Our mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Our vision is to live in a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
WHAT IMPACT ARE YOU MAKING?
In Colorado, our council serves more than 5,000 girls a year across the Front Range. Our goal is to make our program accessible to all girls that want to participate in Girls on the Run and we are proud to say that we provide more than $400,000 in financial assistance to Colorado girls in order to make that happen.
WHAT (OR WHO) INSPIRES YOU TO MAKE THIS IMPACT?
There is a tremendous need for Girls on the Run. Studies show that 3rd – 8th grade is a critical period of time for girls. Fifty percent of girls ages 10-13 experience bullying such as name calling and exclusion at a time when peer relationships become more central to their lives, girls’ self confidence begins to drop by age nine, physical activity levels decline starting at age 10 and continue to decrease throughout adolescence, and lastly, physical activity is a key indicator of self esteem in girls.
WHAT’S YOUR BIG DREAM FOR THE ORGANIZATION AND THE IMPACT YOU WANT TO MAKE?
The big dream for Girls on the Run International is to be able to reach two million girls by 2020. As one of the largest councils in the United States by both area and numbers, Girls on the Run of the Rockies dreams of making our program a staple in the adolescent phase of Colorado girls’ lives. We wholeheartedly believe in our proven practices and their lasting effects on girls who participate in GOTR.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU NEED TO MAKE THOSE DREAMS COME TRUE?
In order to make our organizational dreams come true, we need many things to operate in harmony – from volunteer resources to monetary resources and just general awareness of our program. We are able to continue our program growth when teachers, principals, superintendents, and parents are well-educated about our amazing program and how life-changing it can be for girls. This starts by understanding that we are so much more than a running program and buying into our mission of building strong girls who will grow to become strong women who are leaders and assets in their education and career endeavors, their families, and their communities. When we have schools that are interested in the program and supportive of our vision, we then need woman-power! All of our 1000+ coaches each year are volunteers. These women are parents, teachers, and women who share our vision and want to dedicate 10 weeks of their time to effective deliver our curriculum to a team of GOTR girls. Lastly, but certainly not least, we need financial support. Each year more than 5,000 girls participate in GOTR and 60% of those girls need some form of financial assistance in order to participate. Through donations and grants, we can make our program accessible to more and more Colorado girls.
WHAT IS (OR HAS BEEN) YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE?
I think the biggest challenge for our program is overcoming the notion that we are simply a running club when we are so much more. We actively work to educate the public through presence at community events, reaching out directly to principals and superintendents, as well as by implementing thorough coach training each season. While we have an enthusiasm for the running aspect of our program, we focus on the positive youth development outcomes of our program that are achieved through our effective curriculum delivered by trained coaches.
WHAT WORDS OF ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER LEADERS LOOKING TO MAKE AN IMPACT?
We say this a lot in GOTR: You don’t have to go fast, you just have to keep moving forward. I think that applies to so many areas in life.
HOW CAN OTHERS SUPPORT YOU OR YOUR CAUSE?
There are so many ways for people to get involved! We are always looking for volunteers, 5K sponsors, and corporate partners to help us bring our program to more girls across the Front Range. Please reach out to me or visit our website for more information.
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