Heart & Sole…Our Teams are on a Roll!

Posted by Maggie in on Wed 03/23/2016 8:26

Written by Renee Parks, Program Director

Heart & Sole, our new middle school program launched this spring 2016 season, and there are more than 100 dedicated volunteer coaches who are supporting 315 middle school girls at 24 sites/schools! These coaches are leading lessons, building relationships, and supporting girls’ growth of critical skills for this stage in their lives.

After having several weeks of lessons under their belts, we asked Heart & Sole coaches how everything is going...coaches shared how practices are going great! Many said they feel more in a rhythm after the first several practices, and the girls are opening up and responding well to lessons.

“Our practices are going VERY well.  There's a little more advance reading that needs to be done…but the execution has been phenomenal!”
-Molly, Meramec Valley/Riverbend

Heart & Sole lesson structure is different than Girls on the Run; here are the main parts:

  • Coach Pep Talk – helps coaches think about the lesson topics (Big Ideas) in relation to their own life
  • Check In – each lesson begins with this and uses the Girl Wheel as the foundation for discussion
  • Activity – interactive game/activity that relates to the Big Idea (lesson topic)
  • Workout – walk/run/workout activities which blend the lesson learning with a physical element
  • Journal/Let’s Talk – girls reflect in their Journals or in a Let’s Talk discussion to further process activities and the Big Idea
  • Wrap Up and Take Home Challenge – recap of the lesson’s Big Idea, sharing of the favorite part of the day, receive a Take Home Challenge and do a closing ritual determined by the Girls on the Run

The Girl Wheel is the foundation of Heart & Sole and focuses on all aspects of the girl: body (nutrition, rest, activity), social (family, friends, school), heart (emotions, gratitude), brain (creativity, learning, decision-making), spirit (dreams, personal values).


Here’s what coaches had to say about the lessons…

“I think the Big Ideas are great and spot on for the age level! We have even found ourselves bringing up the topics and using it in our own classes.”
-Stephanie, Red Bud

“I think the Big Ideas and questions are engaging, and bring up talking points the girls wouldn't normally discuss in a mixed group. It is an environment where they let their guards down a bit, and the lines of communication are open for sharing some deeper feelings.”
-Jenny, Sacred Heart School in Florissant

“I feel like these lessons are still things that we, as adults, still use and need to be reminded of on a daily basis.”
-Jessica, Red Bud

How has Heart & Sole been received by your girls?

“They've been very positive and seem to really connect to the information.  Of course, some days we have to pry a lot more to keep them talking.”
Stephanie, Red Bud

“As far as I can tell, the girls are enjoying themselves…every practice seems to bring new people out of their shell.”
                                                                            -Molly, Meramec Valley/Riverbend

What's your girls' favorite part of Heart & Sole?

“The girls enjoy the Workout and Strength & Conditioning parts of the lesson to help them improve their running and prepare them for the 5k.”
-Adriana, Collinsville Middle School

“The girls especially liked the Overcoming Obstacles lesson. They are really starting to see how the parts of the Girl Wheel interconnect with one another. They’ve come up with some great questions about the Girl Wheel, which leads me to believe they are understanding the message from each of the lessons.”
-Jennifer, Francis Howell Middle

“Depending on which girl you ask you will get a different answer…I know they all enjoyed the role playing activity – or they seemed to, as they were all smiling and laughing a lot during it!”
Jessica, Red Bud

What’s your favorite part?

“My favorite part, other than the Workout are the Activities. I like the activities that use the cones with the Likert Scale (agree, maybe, disagree). After we ask the question, it’s interesting to see where the girls land. It’s a great visual not only for the coaches, but for the girls as well.  I have found that some of our best conversations comes from these types of activities.”
-Jennifer, Francis Howell Middle

“It's hard to pick a favorite part, because they are all GREAT! However, if I have to pick, my favorite activity thus far is the Paper Shuffle! It was very exciting to watch the girls maneuver through this team-building activity. The conversation with the girls after the activity was interesting…they discussed challenges they faced, how they could have overcome them and ways they could have worked better together.”
-Cassandra, The College School

We’re thrilled about coaches’ and girls’ response to Heart & Sole, and the positive experience and impact it’s already made! We hope more schools/sites offer this transformative program to girls in their communities. Find out how your school can become a GOTR-STL site and offer Heart & Sole here.