Leading the charge for the first time this past spring 2015 season at Collinsville Middle School, GOTR-STL is excited to introduce you to one of our amazing volunteer coaches, Andrea Suess! As a first time coach at a brand new site, Andrea worked hard to organize a group of great coaches to lead a successful Girls on Track (GOT) season for 18 middle school girls. After 10 weeks of hard work and determination, the Collinsville Middle GOT team joined 7,400 others to complete the Downtown STL Girls on the Run 5k on May 9th. We are grateful for Andrea’s leadership and her representation of the hundreds of other volunteer coaches, paving the way for the next generation of young women.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, my name is Andrea Suess. I am a school social worker at Collinsville Middle School, in Collinsville, IL. I have been married for 25 years and my husband, Steve, and I have two boys. Paul is 21 years old and Tony is 19 years old. Paul is going to be a junior at Mizzou and Tony is going to be a sophomore at Eastern Illinois University.
Why did you choose to volunteer with GOTR-STL?
Last year was our first year of having an "empty nest," so I thought it would be a great time to volunteer and give back to GOT. I talked with other GOTR coaches in our school district, contacted GOTR, recruited other coaches for Collinsville Middle School (CMS), and we started our journey.
What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run?
Watching the girls learn how to manage their emotions in healthy ways was the most rewarding part of the journey for me. They learned how to reach out for help when they needed it, learned how to love themselves, forgive themselves and others, believe in themselves, and increased their self-esteem.
How has GOTR-STL impacted your life?
GOTRSTL is an amazing program. After coaching the girls, socially, emotionally and physically, it was great to see them come together with their families on race day. Everyone had a great time and the energy was so positive! The message was definitely empowering!
Why would you recommend that others get involved with GOTR-STL?
I would recommend that others get involved and volunteer because you are making a difference in these girls’ lives. What was surprising was that it also changed us, as coaches, also. I learned so much about the girls, myself and the other coaches during this process. We all grew from the experience.
What are your hopes for the future of GOTR-STL as an organization?
My hope, for the future of GOTRSTL, is that the organization continues to grow and give as many girls, coaches and families the opportunity to see what the program is all about. The participants in the program will never forget the amazing experiences, hard work and dedication that they put forward. They/we will carry these memories with us always.