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Finding Strength in Connectedness

Posted Kenzie Kramer on 8/17/2016 |

Remarkable! People

When Girls on the Run of Gaston County Executive Director Kathleen Boyce started working with Girls on the Run, she was seeking more meaningful work and an opportunity to give back to her community. While she was inspiring girls in her community to be joyful, healthy and confident, Kathleen was also raising her own four daughters, each of whom have impacted Girls on the Run in their own way.

Kathleen, who was a runner and considers herself to be very girl-oriented after growing up with sisters and having daughters, had been drawn to the program after hearing about its success in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Girls on the Run started in 1996. She started as the council director for Girls on the Run of Gaston County in 2008 and the support from her daughters began shortly after. “All of the girls have helped me out by volunteering at events and such,” says Kathleen.

The family’s support of the GOTR mission has grown to more than volunteering at events in the Gaston County area. Two of the girls in the family, Laura and Virginia, pursued education and have been involved with Girls on the Run programs and coaching at their schools. Virginia is an assistant principal at a bi-lingual school in San Antonio, Texas and has volunteered with the local Girls on the Run council since it was founded while Laura is a principal in Camden, New Jersey and has coached for Girls on the Run teams.

Kathleen’s other two daughters, Caroline and Sarah, have also made Girls on the Run a part of their lives. Caroline has volunteered with Girls on the Run and was recently hired as an office coordinator for Girls on the Run DC. Sarah has supported Girls on the Run of Gaston County by raising money through the Girls on the Run charity running program SoleMates. While Sarah was training for her first half Ironman event, Kathleen suffered an abdominal aortic aneurysm that resulted in the loss of use of her right leg. Sarah dedicated her half Ironman event to her mother and raised over $6,000 for Girls on the Run of Gaston County as a SoleMate. Kathleen was able to go to Raleigh, North Carolina to join the cheering section of family and friends who supported her daughter as she completed the challenging event.

The girls’ support for Girls on the Run has helped strengthen both their family’s connection and Kathleen’s connection to her work. “I feel like it validates that they think what I do is important and that they really value the program,” says Kathleen. “It makes me feel like I’m successful as a parent that they share the values that I have.”


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