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Building Strong Girls as a Girls on the Run Coach

Posted Kenzie Kramer on 8/9/2016 |

Giving Back

As a Girls on the Run national partner, Gamma Phi Beta Sorority’s members support strong girls through volunteering and fundraising for Girls on the Run. Through their philanthropic efforts last year, Gamma Phi Beta members raised over $400,000 to support girls’ limitless potential and dedicated hundreds of hours to volunteering with local Girls on the Run councils. Erin Coates, one of the Gamma Phi Beta members who has volunteered as a coach, became involved with Girls on the Run after serving as Philanthropy Chair for her chapter. 

During her time at University of Oregon, Erin has helped foster her chapter’s relationship with Girls on the Run Willamette and has also become involved with the program personally. “I thought it was so important for us to step up and volunteer because the Willamette Valley chapter was so close,” says Erin. Erin’s experience with Girls on the Run began with her chapter volunteering at a 5k event where she was a running buddy. “After talking with Isabel as I encouraged her to finish the 5k, I realized I needed to be a coach.”

This spring, Erin had the opportunity to coach her first Girls on the Run team. “As a coach this year, I was transported back in time to when I was 8 years old.” During the season, she shared her own love for running with the 13 girls on her team and supported them as they worked toward their personal goals. “You are there to teach, but more importantly, you are there to be a friend to these girls, someone they know will always listen to them.”

At their 5k event, Coach Erin was able to see the confidence through accomplishment that the girls on her team experienced. Erin and the team’s other coach encouraged each girl to keep going and with the support of their coaches and running buddies, the girls all reached their goals. “That sense of accomplishment is something that cannot be taught. It has to be experienced and that is why I love Girls on the Run.”

Erin says that as a member of Gamma Phi Beta, she’s grateful for the opportunity to work with girls in her community and teach them the lessons she wishes she had learned when she was their age. This may have been Erin’s first season coaching with Girls on the Run but she plans to stay involved for years to come. “The values that I hold in my heart as a Gamma Phi connect directly with GOTR's mission to help girls live joyful, healthy, and confident lives.”


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