MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Girls on the Run is more than just an after school running program. It’s about social and emotional learning weaving in running along the way.
“At the age of nine, you start to see that there is this drop in self esteem and particularly with girls,” Executive Director Joanna Lipman said.
The girls meet twice a week to go over a lesson and set personal goals as well as running goals.
“(It) enables them to really understand what the connection is between the brain and the body and how all of our physical and mental health is intrinsically linked,” Lipman said.
We met up with Portia Knowlton, a mentor and volunteer coach for the community program at Shelby Farms.
“Everybody wants to feel like they belong to something right? You don’t want anyone to feel ostracized as if they’re not important. And that is our goal,” Knowlton said. “Make our girls feel important. Their voices matter.”
It’s the down time between laps or breaks between lessons where the bonds start to solidify and the young ladies feel empowered.
Taylor Brooks is a rising eighth grader at Colonial Middle School. This past spring was her first season with Girls on the Run. Not only did she complete her first 5k, she learned a few life skills too.
“One of my goals was to be more nice to people and to be myself, because I was doubting myself,” Brooks said. “Practicing on my running, doing better in school and getting my grades up.”
That is why our anonymous donor wanted to give Girls on the Run $1,000. Because when you combine positive life skills with physical activity, you become limitless, a true community changer.