How did you first hear about Girls on the Run?
I heard about GOTR-STL from a parent of a girl in our school. This parent was looking for a program for her daughter to become a part of and she was convinced Girls on the Run was it. I looked on the Girls on the Run website and immediately became excited about the program. I went to the school principals and unbeknownst to me, they had heard of the program as well. Together we became excited and wanted this program at our school.
Why did you decide to be a coach?
After looking over the Girls on the Run website, I instantly wanted to be part of the program. I believe in the principles of Girls on the Run and the lessons being taught. I have two daughters and felt this is a program would want them in. I have always enjoyed volunteering with children, but had gotten away from it. The program worked wonderfully with my schedule and not only did Girls on the Run seem extremely fun, it also taught many lessons that our girls need along with support and guidance in the lessons. I continue to coach GOTR because of the girls. All of our coaches are extremely committed to this program as well. Most of our coaches are returning coaches from previous seasons and they are all dedicated to our girls.
How has GOTR impacted the school community?
Girls on the Run has impacted our school in several exciting ways. Our Girls on the Run program has been a huge success from the day Amy Sheridan walked in our doors to discuss the program. Before our girls even knew we were considering a program, several of our school staff were eagerly ready to be a part of this program. Our first season of Girls on the Run consisted of 120 girls signing up and committing to be part of Girls on the Run. Each season thereafter, we have anywhere from 85 to 110 girls participate.
Our girls get so excited about Girls on the Run. Even girls who are unable to participate get excited. We often times have second graders asking if we will still have the program when they are in third grade. They will say, “I’m going to be in Girls on the Run next year, I can’t wait!” As a spring only school for GOTR, girls begin asking when the program will start several months before we begin; they just cannot wait. Once the program has started, the girls will wear their shirts to school and do their cheers during recess. They will wear their wrist bands to school and proudly show them to their friends. There have been several times our girls will have conflicts with each other during the school day and will use the lessons learned from Girls on the Run to work the problem out on their own. They truly represent what it means to be a Girl on the Run. As the school social worker, I too, have used the lessons from Girls on the Run to support conversation during in-school issues with those girls who are or have participated with Girls on the Run. It helps me bring together a valuable lesson and remind the girls that they are not only a GOTR girl after school but, at all times. We have great support from our teachers and parents. Because of our large number of girls, we need several coaches.
Why would you recommend others become involved with GOTR?
The overall feeling of helping girls, seeing smiles and being part of a fantastic program is why I would recommend this program to anyone. There are so many moments when you get an immediate response and instant gratification for your work. You don’t have to wait days, months or even years to see your time, effort and energy pay off. It’s a happy program full of smiles and teamwork. You have a team full of encouragers, laughing, having fun and learning positive life skills that are so important in girls’ lives. The skills are also beneficial for adults. It is not uncommon for me to execute specific strategies I have learned through GOTR.
What inspires you?
My children. I want their experience as children to be as positive, interesting, diverse and fun-filled as possible. I want them to experience as many opportunities as I can provide for them. With this program, I can support the many experiences/issues my daughters will have with the lessons and tools Girls on the Run teaches. I know they will have struggles as girls and I want to do my best in helping them through them in the best and most positive way. In addition to my children, I am also motivated by the students I work with. Seeing the struggles some of them deal with inspires me to want to do my best to support and educate them in any way I can. Seeing the hard work these girls do throughout the program and the end result, the looks of accomplishment and pride in their faces gets me excited about this program.
Positive living inspires me. I love seeing people outside running (especially with their kids), working in their yards, building businesses, offering a positive experience for someone else or just being happy. If I can help anyone have a more positive life than I want to do just that and with the Girls on the Run program I can definitely provide a strong foundation for our girls.