Audra Grote

Audra Grote

How did you first become involved with Girls on the Run?

I received a copy of ‘The Phoenix,’ which is my college alma-mater’s sorority’s magazine. I read an article how Alpha Sigma Alpha had recently established a partnership with Girls on the Run, and how Girls on the Run became their newest philanthropy. I thought the Girls on the Run philosophy was wonderful, and thought, ‘Wow, if only we can incorporate that program at one of the schools I work at…that would be great.’ The very next day, a friend of mine that works at school close to home posted something about Girls on the Run on a social networking site inquiring about coaches, and that was my- hook line, and sinker. I became a coach at a school near home, with the hopes of starting it at another school where I work that is also near my home. In the process of it all, I fell in love with the curriculum, and how it was positively changing these girls.

What do you love most about coaching?

What I LOVE the most about coaching is how it positively changes the girls. There are some girls that start out with the “I can’t do this” attitude, and half way through the season they will shout, “Did you see me, I ran two miles without stopping,” with huge smiles across their faces. Our GOTR site st Sacred Heart School, in Troy, Missouri wrapped up our community service project. The girls were so proud and excited that they helped raise money for a great cause, and really felt good about giving to the community. It really was an amazing and indescribable thing to watch. The GOTR program is designed to help girls succeed outside of a school setting, and gives the girls the opportunity to develop a strong sense of self; it carries back into the classroom. Teachers have told me that the program is working, and they have noticed positive changes with their students who were involved with GOTR. I love witnessing the girls form a bond with other girls whom were acquaintances at the beginning of the season, realizing that they are not alone, and how they have more in common with girls they never thought they would have before, and have become friends.

Tell us about your experience as the Alien Duck at the 5K!

The Alien Duck experience for the downtown St. Louis 5k was so fun. I think the Young Professionals Board ladies had it all on target, so it was super easy for me to run around with a fellow YPB member (who was a duckling). I was extremely nervous prior. I thought the costume was going to be some big, hot and uncomfortable outfit making it hard to get around the girls to encourage them. But, the costume was anything but that (whomever designed the costume did amazing, and I thank you!!). My duckling (LOL) and I ran around and with some of the participants. We encouraged the girls to keep going, we gave them lots of positive praise and kept it very light hearted and very fun at the same time. It was their moment, thousands of girls in the St. Louis area prepared for this 5k, and I felt that I was there to make sure that they were having a fun (I know I did), and to give them that little extra encouragement along the route.

What do you hope to achieve as a GOTR Young Professionals Board member?

I got involved with Girls on the Run, because I want girls of our future to be empowered and to feel and know that they can accomplish anything, and that’s exactly what the program itself stands for. I would hate to think that anyone is turned off from GOTR because of the cost. The Young Professionals Board helps girls through fundraising to have that opportunity to join. That’s exactly why I joined the YPB. My goal as a YPB member is to help bring more scholarships to girls in the St. Louis area, so that any girl who is interested in the GOTR is never not able to. My goal is also to help bring GOTR to more schools, and to let people know who are unfamiliar with GOTR that a program like GOTR does exist. I think it would be amazing if one day GOTR would be offered at every school like after school sports are.

Why would you recommend others become involved with GOTR?

I would recommend GOTR to others because it’s FUN. I ALWAYS looked forward to the days when we practiced. It was a chance for me to let the stresses of everyday life go, and just have fun while being productive and proactive at the same time. You would also be guiding girls to become more healthy, happy, strong and confident. As a mom, these are the goals for my children, and if they were to achieve them I could ask for nothing more. I know so many parents out there that feel the same way. After all, these girls are going to go out in to the world to be our future leaders. I would LOVE to know that our leaders were empowered by the values of what GOTR stands for.