At the heart of Girls on the Run St. Louis are our volunteers who make the program possible for more than 6,000 girls each year! Ashley Carter is a community member who took the lead as Head Coach at Barbara C. Jordan in the University City School District.
Tell us a bit about yourself
A little bit about me? Well, I am originally from Milwaukee, WI. Lots of people live there, not just cows! Lol. I moved to St Louis when I was 18 years old in order to attend St Louis University. I graduated in May 2013 (wow, it's been 3 years) and currently work on college campuses walking alongside students as they figure out their spiritual and academic journey. I LOVE St Louis, but I am a Brewers, Bucks and HARDCORE PACKERS fan. You can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but you can't take the Wisconsin out of the girl!
Why did you choose to volunteer/get involved with GOTR-STL?
I chose to volunteer with GOTR-STL for many reasons. The first one, my very persistent friend, Rachel. Rachel had been telling me how much she has loved and enjoyed coaching. She would tell me stories about her girls and I even saw how her involvement was changing her. When she told me that there was an opening at BCJ, though I had never been, I decided that I needed to see GOTR firsthand. It was a great decision, one of the best decisions I could have made.
What is the most rewarding thing about Girls on the Run?
The most rewarding thing about GOTR is, well, do I really have to just pick one?! I'll do two! The first thing that I would say is that the opportunity to encourage and bond with the girls is PRICELESS. I get to learn their insecurities (so many of them I battled with when I was their age) and teach them healthy and positive ways to overcome. It's amazing to see how they can start off feeling like they cannot do it, but then a few weeks in they are more confident than ever. They are unplugging from negativity and feeding themselves empowerment and hope. It's also fun to see them bond with and support each other. The second thing is that the girls help me! I find myself running more, eating better, caring about my thoughts and really wanting to set a good example for them. I don't know which is better, getting to see them through rough areas in their life or having them to see me through mine! Plus, the weekly workouts are *chhh chhh chhh FANTASTIC*. They are pretty amazing workout/running buddies!
Why would you recommend others get involved with Girls on the Run?
Seriously, Girls on The Run has been such a positive experience. Before I started, I really did not know what to expect. Will I be able to coach? I am not a "runner", how will I do this? What if these girls hate me? What if the other coaches hate me? Do I even know what I am doing? All of these questions raced through my head. Honestly, GOTR quickly helped me to deal with my own fears, while coaching the girls through theirs. In GOTR you get to be real, you don't have to fake it and your girls get to be real with you. You can bring your fear and anxiety to a place that empowers you to empower others. You'll get the opportunity to embrace a healthier, more positive, lifestyle while teaching young girls to do the same! Who would say no to that?
What are your hopes for the future of Girls on the Run as an organization?
My hopes are that GOTR would continue to grow and flourish! Girls need the message that is being spread and the world needs more "coaches" empowered to reach girls in their neighborhoods and cities. My hope is that GOTR would continue to grow and that so many people will be empowered physically, mentally and emotionally! GOTR has such an amazing message for young girls and coaches alike, I would love to see the message passed far and wide!