Marcia Billhartz

Marcia Billhartz
Coach at William Holliday Elementary School

How did you first hear about Girls on the Run?

I first heard about GOTR while attending a character education site visit to a nearby elementary school. I was so inspired by the young girls who told us about the program that I asked my principal the next day if it would be possible to start a site at our school. I received so much support from her and other faculty members that we began with a team the next season!

Why did you decide to be a coach?

I thought that being a coach would be a way to stay connected to previous students and share girl time! I also wanted to help girls feel good about who they are. The positive energy this program brings is contagious! I felt the program would help girls become more confident and remember it is our unique qualities that make us all special!

How has GOTR impacted the school community?

GOTR has greatly impacted our school community. I have such an outstanding group of core coaches. They have really helped to make GOTR a significant part of our school culture. Because of this, more people than ever wanted to become involved this year. We had the support of our after school program and the fire department during the practice 5K. It was unbelievable! We had students lined down the front sidewalk giving high fives, and the fire horn and siren blasting as each girl passed. It was unbelievable! What a memorable moment for these girls. Additionally, we had 15 staff members run as practice partners or sign on to be a coach this year! Also, our secretary and kitchen staff got involved. They helped to make the end of the season celebration a huge success! From making place settings, to creating fruit and veggie displays all related to this year’s theme. We even had a video production showcasing our season. It was a fabulous sight!

Why would you recommend others become involved with GOTR?

I would recommend this program to anyone that wants to encourage girls to be happy in their own skin. It is such a great feeling to see the girls work together and grow all season, but most of all to see the sense of accomplishment on their faces as they cross the finish line. As a coach or volunteer you see this program giving girls the tools to begin building healthy, happy lives. Throughout the program you are providing them with the confidence to become strong self-assured young women.

What inspires you?

I am inspired daily by my two boys, I want them to grow up with confidence and courage to make good choices and become outstanding young men.