Posted Pamela Young on 1/29/2015 |General
Growing up is not always easy. Am I too short, too fat, or am I pretty enough? What makes some of us so popular and others of us not? It’s tough growing up.
This is what Girls on the Run participant Mariah shared with us in an essay she wrote to nominate her Girls on the Run coach for Coach of the Year. Her words remind us why Girls on the Run matters in a world that's often rough on girls.
Girls on the Run exists to inspire joy, health and confidence in the girls we serve. Why? Let’s let them tell you. In these snippets from essays and letters we received this past year, you’ll soon understand why we believe “our girls say it best.”
Shaylee (grade 5): For many years I had thought that to make an impact on the world you had to be someone famous, someone recognized. Now I know that even the smallest person can change the world. With friends to help you and people to support you, your dreams can come true.
Lily: I love math and science, and that makes me feel different. But coach Jessica says I am special, and it is a gift. [She] has helped me build confident friendships all the way . . . In science, E=mc2, but now I feel like Me=Courage2!
Words like these inspire us. It’s why our curriculum teaches girls about standing up for themselves and others, trying their best and finding their strength.
Jaelyn (grade 3): Being confident means that I am strong. Strong enough to tell how I feel. Strong enough to run a race. Before Girls on the Run, I felt good about myself, and I knew a little about confidence. Now I know a lot more about confidence and how to use it to express my feelings. It helps me with everything every day!
Savannah (grade 8): Girls on the Run gave me confidence to pursue my dreams by supporting my decisions to shoot a little higher with my goals--a little better, a little harder, a little past my comfort zone. I started welcoming new faces into my life, and I use their positive energy when I know I need to go a few more steps.
These are the life skills and experiences we want all girls to have—the things every Girls on the Run practice and lesson strive to deliver. But what about the 5k the girls run or walk at the end of each program cycle? How does it factor into the mix?
Shaylee again: Running the 5k is a lot like following your dreams. When you run, you set a pace and press on. When pursuing your dreams, you know where you want to go or what you want to do, and you must accomplish goals along the way to reach your dream. Never give up.
Refa (grade 4): [When] I ran the whole 5k I was super proud of myself because I started out small. This shows that if I start small, I can still dream big and achieve it! Confidence level: 100MAX!
Insightful words at any age.
We opened with an excerpt from Mariah’s essay to nominate her coach, Melanie Grissinger—who ultimately won our 2014 Coach of the Year Award. In the essay, Mariah went on say, “[My coach] pushes us with kindness to do our best and encourages us to be ourselves.” We hope these girls’ words will encourage you similarly.
Get involved! This spring, Girls on the Run will serve our 1 millionth girl, a feat which would not be possible without dedicated volunteers. Find your local council and get involved as a coach, running buddy or SoleMates charity runner.