Mindy is one of the oldest volunteers for GOTR, not in terms of age, but tenure! She first got involved with the program 10 years ago when one of her running friends started a GOTR team at St. Gabriel the Archangel. She’s been acting as a site liaison and head coach at St. G
abe’s ever since. Mindy is a runner and claims the half marathon as her favorite race distance, although she’s happy these days to run enough to keep up with her two-year-old dog, Gunner. She has a wonderful husband, Don, an 11-year-old son, Jake, and an 8-year-old daughter, Grace, who constantly amaze her and make her strive to be a better person/mom. Mindy has worked as a physical therapist for 19 years and currently works for Select/SSM Rehab.
Read what Mindy had to say about Girls on the Run.
Why did you first get involved with Girls on the Run?
I thought it was a perfect volunteer opportunity for me because I loved to run and liked the idea of helping girls gain self confidence and life skills at what I remembered to be an awkward, impressionable age.
What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run that both you’ve experienced and that you’ve seen for the girls you’ve coached?
I always love the end of season banquet awards where you kind of realize what kind of impact the program has had on the girls and their parents. I never get tired of seeing how much those girls love getting that spirit award and hearing the coaches talk about the unique and wonderful qualities we have seen in them throughout the season. I also have met and coached with a lot of really great women who have coached at St. Gabe’s throughout the years.
Why would you recommend others get involved as a volunteer for Girls on the Run?It is a way to really get involved on a personal level with a dynamic program that continues to get larger and more successful every year. GOTR St. Louis does a great job in training and supporting us as volunteers and the curriculum is organized and easy to execute. The girls give back ten–fold what you put into it and it really is just super fun.
Why would you recommend a girl participate in Girls on the Run?
Girls should participate because not only does the program encourage healthy living, but the lessons give them the skills to be the person that they really want to be and can be proud to be. It’s also great for those girls that may not be on team sports because they feel they aren’t athletic or competitive enough. It gives them a chance to be part of a team where they are valued for who they are and not what they can do on the field or track.
What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run as an organization?
I hope that more businesses recognize what an empowering program this is to support so that we can continue to offer GOTR to every economic level.
What is your favorite Girls on the Run cheer?I personally love the cheers that the girls come up with. I would say that almost every season we have had girls come up with their own group cheer that they are very proud of and really gets them pumped up.
Any favorite memories or stories you’d like to share?
Wow…so many but, to name a few… once we did a community project where we went to a soup kitchen, helped organize their clothing donations, helped serve dinner, and some of the girls even got to decorate their Christmas tree. The girls impressed with me how they handled all of it. I mean these were mostly 9-10 year olds that showed amazing compassion and respect that I would dare some adults to rival. Also, at the last GOTR banquet we had the girls surprise us by giving out “spirit awards” to the coaches. We were amazed at how they felt so empowered that they were able to get up in front of adults and their peers to express their gratitude for the coaches and the program. Talk about rewarding!