Girls on the Run – Atlanta

For the last 14 weeks of my life, I have committed myself to an amazing program, Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run is a national organization that was started by a lady named Molly Barker.  When Molly was young, she felt the pressures that young girls often feel to “fit in.”  She found comfort in running and decided to start Girls on the Run in order to help girls of the same age she was when she started facing social situations.

Now, Girls on the Run is all over the US and Atlanta is lucky enough to be a part of this.

Late last year a friend and co-worker, Sarah, asked if I wanted to help her bring this program to the girls at our school.  Immediately, I knew the answer.  Without a doubt, YES!

We had to get our school approved as a site, then we were trained at the end of last summer.  They do an amazing job training all of their coaches and provide all the materials you could ever need to have a successful season.  We were also trained in CPR.

After training, the real fun began.

For 12 weeks, we spend an hour and a half a week, twice a week with 15 girls.

Each session we would have a specific topic we would cover.  The day was scripted with a manual that told us everything we were going to do that day.  We started with a group talk and activity, a warm up, then the run/walk, cool down, and ended with a recap of the day’s topic.

The bonds we made with our girls are what really make this program special.  We got to know them, encouraged them; we talked about social issues and self worth.  We loved on them and ran with them and practiced for a 5k that would happen at the end of the season.  We taught the girls that they are worthy, loved, and valued.  We taught them to eat healthy food and stand up for themselves, not to gossip and how to be a good friend.  Most importantly, we taught girls that THEY-ARE-BEAUTIFUL.

These Girls Are Beautiful - Girls on the Run

The season included a practice 5k where each girl ran around our school track to equal 3.1 miles.  They were so proud of themselves!

Eastvalley Girls on the Run Practice 5k

This last Sunday was our end of the season 5k.  It was a chilly morning but 14 of us came out to run the race.  We were all so excited.

Girls on the Run 5k Starting Line

Here are the coaches for our elementary school.  Audrey, Sarah, and myself (with Ella the Eagle, our mascot).

Eastvalley Girls on the Run Coaches

We all showed up in our Girls on the Run shirts, matching headbands and bracelets.  The headbands were actually donated from Punkeelove Headbands.  They were so generous!

Eastvalley Girls on the Run with matching Punkeelove Headbands

They gave us 18 custom headbands for our group to wear.

Eastvalley Girls on the Run Coaches with their Punkeelove Headbands

Aren’t they cute?  I just love this organization!

The girls did an amazing job.  They had a blast!  Some of the girls ran, some walked, some did a combo of both!  Most of all, they achieved something that just 13 weeks ago, they might not have believed they could achieve.

Eastvalley Girls on the Run After the Race

Aren’t they amazing?

This organization is awesome.  If you have a girl in grades 3-5, you MUST look and see if there is a Girls on the Run in your area.  If not, please try and bring it to your school.  I promise that your daughter or niece or granddaughter will get so much out of this program!

Here is a short video I made to promote the program at our school (We are now gearing up for a spring season!).

I really hope you will check this out if it is in your school or your town!  They are an amazing organization with a big heart who wants to help girls have a better future and be able to handle any social situation they have come up.

Our whole Eastvalley group at the Girls on the Run 5k

Have you heard of Girls on the Run?  What are your thoughts on the program?  Have you ever thought of volunteering for such an organization?

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About Jennifer Swafford

Jennifer is an elementary school teacher who is trying to lose 100+ pounds. She has certainly learned how much It Sux To Be Fat and is here to motivate you to live a healthy lifestyle.

  • Jenny Nash

    Hello! I just landed on your blog via a Google search for some Taco Bell nutritional information. (Funny how the internet takes us places, isn’t it?) Just had to leave a comment because (1) I’m an elementary school teacher in Jax, (2) I lost 35 pounds on WW about 6 years ago, and I’m about to start my 2nd journey with them on Tuesday, and (3) I’m a GOTR coach, too! :) Fall 2012 was my 4th season, and I absolutely love that organization and my time with the girls. I’ll add your blog to my reader and keep checking back for inspiration and focus. :) Keep up the good work!

  • Casey Dixon

    Side note: girls on the run will be using our parking lot in April for their event near Northside Parkway. Small world!

    • Jennifer Swafford

      VERY small world. Awesome organization!