How did you get involved with Girls on the Run?
In 2009 my mom founded the first Girls on the Run council in Louisiana. I was in high school and beyond proud to support my mom in her endeavors. I volunteered at the Girls on the Run 5k events for several years. I became more involved my freshman year at Louisiana State University when I joined Kappa Delta Sorority. Our new member class hosted a fundraiser to support Girls on the Run South Louisiana, which later turned into a student organization dedicated to inspiring college women to lives of confidence, self-respect, healthy-living, and service. I volunteered throughout college as an assistant coach, communications intern and other roles until I was offered a full-time job after graduation, as the special events and communication director.
Tell us about GOTR, and how they are working to inspire and empower young girls.
Girls on the Run is a nonprofit organization dedicating to creating a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.
The 10-week program for 3rd-8th grade girls uses a research-based curricula that includes dynamic discussions, activities and running games. Volunteer coaches lead the fun lessons and create a safe environment for girls to share their thoughts and feelings. Each time the girls meet they develop skills that help them positively approach adolescence and the pressures of society. At the same time, girls are progressing in their goal to cross the finish line of a 5k at the end of the season! Girls gain an appreciation for movement and learn healthy habits that support their physical, mental, emotional and social health.
I believe Girls on the Run inspires young girls in the best way because they first learn to support one another. Through this connectedness comes confidence in their unique skills and personalities. From there, girls are empowered to pursue big dreams and to build lives of purpose. Each girl learns that she can make a positive and meaningful contribution to community and society.
Girls on the Run is molding the next generation of female leaders. By knowing they are the leaders of their lives, these are the girls that will change the world.
What about GOTR has kept you so involved over the years?
The Girls on the Run core values are important and relatable in all stages of life. Since my mom, sister and I became involved with the organization I could see a shift in the way we talked about ourselves, connected with others and nurtured our health. While I was coaching a GOTR team in college I would leave each practice feeling challenged and inspired to be the type of person Girls on the Run girls were aiming to be.
I knew what it felt like to be a young girl dealing with self-esteem issues, bullying and the turmoil of adolescent friendships. But then I saw how positive it was to live by the Girls on the Run values and be surrounded by those that did the same. I wish I had Girls on the Run when I was younger, which is why I feel so strongly about encouraging the girls in our community to participate.
I stay involved because I want to be a part of the world that inspires girls to find their inner strength, to stand up for others, and to celebrate what makes them one of a kind. Girls on the Run will always have a piece of my heart and my gratitude.
Any favorite memories you’d like to share?
Standing with my mom at the finish line of each Girls on the Run 5k event is a beautiful memory I collect each season. We find a moment to stand together and watch young girls with determined faces cross the finish line with beaming smiles. There is nothing more inspiring than watching the girls accomplish their goals. And the greatest gift is sharing that memory with my biggest role model, my mom (and boss!)
There was also a wonderful moment years ago when a group of girls came to the support of their teammate. This young girl had recently injured herself and was on crutches, therefore not able to participate in the end-of-the-season 5k. Toward the end of the event the young girl put down her crutches and stood several yards away from the finish line. She was determined to cross the finish line. She had prepared for months. The 5k event is more than a physical accomplishment, but a tangible opportunity to apply all they have learned throughout the program. When she started hopping to the finish line her teammates ran over to cheer and hop along with her. The young girl bravely made her way with the help of her teammates beside her. They all crossed the finish line together.