Girls from Collinsville Middle School, Dorris Intermediate School, Renfro Elementary, Maryville Elementary and Caseyville Elementary have been training for months with the Girls on the Run program.
On Saturday, May 7, 2016, the girls, in grades 3-8, took part in the annual Girls on the Run 5K in St. Louis.
The mission of GOTR is “to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
The 20-lesson Girls on the Run curriculum combines training for a 5K (3.1 miles) running event with lessons that inspire girls to become independent thinkers, enhance their problem solving skills and make healthy decisions. All of this is accomplished through an active collaboration with girls and their parents, schools, volunteers, staff and the community.
Teacher Stephanie Ralston coordinates “Girls Run Renfro” at her school. “This year we have about 33 girls from the 3rd and 4th grade classes. We average about 5 coaches per practice, all on a volunteer level. The practices consist of a brief review, a character lesson, a workout, and an ending cheer (“Girls run Renfro, have fun, let’s go!”).
Ralston says, “We try to focus on issues girls at this age may have such as bullying, gossip, negativity, etc. The coaches help the girls work through issues that they may face, giving them strategies to cope and handle tough situations. Our workouts include lots of running, but we try to focus on pacing yourself. Throughout the year, the girls realize they must take it slow and steady to not wear themselves out.”
Jenna Klucker, a 6th grade special ed teacher at DIS said, “Our program at DIS has 56 girls which is the largest group of girls we have had in 4 years. We have 9 staff members that coach 1 – 2 days a week, and several others that help throughout the session. As part of our program at DIS we do a community service project. The girls voted to collect supplies for a local animal shelter.”
At Caseyville Elementary, teacher Sarah Palau says, “We want our Caseyville Girls to feel positive about their self image as well as develop coping skills to handle the changing world around them.”
Volunteer Erin Boerm helps coach the Maryville team. Their group does a practice 5K run at Drost Park in Maryville. She say’s, “Our team consists of 17 3rd and 4th grade girls. We meet for 10 weeks twice a week on Monday and Wednesdays right after school for an hour and 15 minutes ”
Webster Elementary will be starting a GOTR program next school year.
The Girls on the Run organization reports the program results in increases in self-confidence, positive attitude, self-satisfaction and physical activity.