Learning By Running
You can measure the improvement in fitness level with a stopwatch. You can measure the growth in self-esteem by the number of smiles.
Girls on the Run is a national organization that combines the endorphin rush a good run with life lessons aimed at improving the mental, physical and emotional states of girls in third through eighth grades. The girls meet after school, two times each week for 10 weeks. With the help of trained coaches, they tackle important topics such as bullying, self-esteem, healthy eating habits and positive body image. Then, they lace on their shoes and head out for a 1-3 mile run (or walk).
“I really like the program because I learn a lot about how to be a better person and a better girl,” says 10-year-old Lilly Lutz, who has been a Girl on the Run for two years. “I’ve also learned how to be a better friend and support other girls.” Lilly now considers running her favorite hobby, and she’s started running with her dad on weekends.
“When you combine learning and fitness, amazing things happen,” says Laurie Mitchell, Executive Director of Girls on the Run DFW. “You engage the mind and the body toward a common goal, so the changes are both physical and mental.”
Mitchell has worked with the organization for more than five years at local sites such as Episcopal School of Dallas, the Jewish Community Center and Dallas International School among others.
The newly minted runners mark the end of each session with a 5K race where they celebrate new skills and new friendships and are often joined by family members who have also caught the running bug.
The fall and spring sessions last 10 weeks and cost $150. Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Communities Foundation of Texas and other generous donors, more than half of the 730 area participants are able to attend Girls on the Run on full scholarship.
The group’s motto, “Learn. Dream. Live. Run” inspires girls to push toward their goals - one step at a time. For more information, go to gotrdfw.org.
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