Stephanie can be credited with introducing the Girls on the Run program to the Collinsville, IL community. She started the GOTR team at Renfro Elementary in Collinsville for the Fall 2010 season and has been coaching ever since. Stephanie teaches 4th grade at Renfro and has 3 children of her own; Keith (14), Mia (6), and Ava (5).
Stephanie also gives back to GOTR as a SoleMate, which is the adult charity running program for Girls on the Run St. Louis. She will be running her second full marathon in Chicago this fall! Stephanie says, “I have not always been a runner as most people think. About three years ago a really good friend asked me to run a five mile race with her, I nearly fell over laughing because I could not run five blocks, however she promised me she would help me. Three years later, 50 pounds lighter, 18 half marathons and 1 full, here I am! Running is addictive and as a GOTR coach and SoleMate I hope to inspire many girls!
In Stephanie’s words …
When did you first get involved with Girls on the Run? I first became involved with Girls on the Run in fall 2010, as a head coach and site liaison at Renfro. A friend of mine had told me about the program. Renfro Elementary is a National and State School of Character and I thought the program would be a great fit. I also feel as if girls need an outlet to express themselves in a comfortable setting, while learning about being a “girl” in today’s world.
What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run? The most rewarding experience is listening to the girls talk about GOTR to other girls and other adults. The girls use phrases such as, “It’s so awesome, you don’t have to be a fast runner just do your best.” “The coaches are super nice, they help you do your best.” And “It’s not like you are even running, and you get to run with a million people at the 5k.” Parents also comment after each season about how the program has helped their daughter have more self esteem and become more positive at home and in the classroom.
What’s your favorite Girls on the Run cheer?
“Superstar” It sums up what every girl is to me!
Why would you recommend others get involved as a volunteer for Girls on the Run? The satisfaction I feel when the girls cross the finish line, run an entire lap during practice, or make a new friend during the course of the season is worth a million words.
Why would you recommend a girl participate in Girls on the Run? To any girls out there that wants a new challenge or wants to set a goal for themselves … GOTR is the place to do that. During the course of a season you will discover things about yourself you did not know and achieve many goals with the help of your friends and coaches!
Any favorite memories or stories you’d like to share? My favorite part of GOTR has to be the Service Learning Projects. Renfro has done very well at helping members of its “school” community. I have enjoyed witnessing firsthand how engaged the girls become with the project. We have learned from experience that keeping things simple make the best projects.