Lauren Epley - Why I Support Girls on the Run

Posted by Maggie in on Mon 02/08/2016 4:59

My name is Lauren Epley and I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri. I attended a private grade school, Saint Francis of Assisi, and an all-girls private high school, Notre Dame High School. I am currently a student at Southeast Missouri State University. I am in my second year studying Fashion Merchandising with a minor in Fashion Entrepreneurship and contemplating a second minor in Business Administration.

As a first-semester freshman at Southeast, I was lucky enough to find an on campus job. Once second semester rolled around, I decided to go through formal recruitment so I could become more involved. I was fortunate enough to be initiated in to Gamma Phi Beta-Zeta Delta sorority in the spring semester of my freshman year.

Gamma Phi Beta’s national philanthropy is focused on the mission of Building Strong Girls, and our national philanthropy is Girls on the Run. Our goal is to provide opportunities for long-term success by inspiring the leaders of tomorrow. I indirectly chose to support Girls on the Run when I joined Gamma Phi Beta, and I couldn’t have fallen more in love with their mission and success. Girls on the Run provides girls with the support they need to reinforce their ability to believe in themselves and to understand their value and potential. As part of our chapter’s philanthropic efforts, going to the Girls on the Race has been something the women of Gamma Phi Beta-Zeta Delta highly enjoy. My first experience with a Girls on the Run St. Louis 5k was my freshman year, when my Gamma Phi Beta family and I attended the 5k event in Saint Louis, and I was able to participate as a Water Station Volunteer for all race participants. The reward was so much bigger than I expected it would be. I directly witnessed the impact something so small could have on young girls. I saw their flushed faces full of power and determination. I was immediately impacted by the strength of character these young girls picked up in their time with Girls on the Run St. Louis.

If there was anything I could tell others about the importance of giving to Girls on the Run it would be to simply donate your time and dedication to the women and girls who are participating in Girls on the Run. Nothing is more impactful than a sense of encouragement and support from role models, older girls and adult women. As a child, I admired my older sister for a variety of reasons, one reason being that she continuously encouraged me and never lost hope in my abilities.

Giving one’s time to assist young girls in improving self-esteem is so rewarding. Giving money to assist young girls continue to participate in this program and giving talent to Girls on the Run by simply pouring water, or even running in the race with them is nothing short of amazing and enjoyable.

One wish I have for the future of Girls on the Run is that no young girl has any doubt about their physical appearance, or capabilities. I want others to see their smile and success instead of any insecurities they may have. Girls on the Run focuses on general self-improvement, social development and physical competencies. Through this experience, girls are encouraged to live a healthy lifestyle and are inspired to be joyful, healthy and confident while integrating running; my wish is for all girls to have an experience similar to this sometime in their life. 

Girls on the Run has indirectly impacted my life in many ways, and although I did not participate in Girls on the Run while growing up, I have met many people who have participated and a few girls in Gamma Phi Beta- Zeta Delta have relatives/friends who have participated and they have grown very much as a person because of the program. As a member of Gamma Phi Beta, we strive to build strong girls and by witnessing something as small as filling up water cups and being physically present to feel the determination in the air, it’s nothing short of life changing.

My favorite memory from attending the Girls on the Run St. Louis race was when the Zeta Delta chapter was at the water station last year and I proudly wore Gamma Phi Beta letters on my shirt. As we were rushing to get all the girls water, a woman had ran by me, making sure to grab my attention and she whispered to me a Gamma Phi Beta secret motto. She was not wearing an alumna shirt, but she was an alumna from another university who had experience with Girls on the Run. This moment was inspiring and moving all at once. She was still supporting Girls on the Run after her time as a Gamma Phi Beta. It’s amazing to see the dedication that alum have put into our philanthropy to better encourage the women of our future. This was an amazing moment and most definitely a moment I was glad to share with my chapter. I am thankful for the experiences I have so far had with Girls on the Run St. Louis and I am anxiously waiting for the race in May.

 

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