Young ladies from all over the region are lacing up their shoes and getting in on Girls on the Run. We women like to move, and getting moving early on in life is a super smart decision.
Girls on the Run is a character building program for girls in 3rd grade up to the 8th grade. This is a critical time in a girl’s life and those who lead Girls on the Run understand that. The program teaches the girls different lessons over a multi-week period like self-awareness, teamwork, and being part of the community. When the program concludes the girls do a community project together.
Founded in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1996, Gils on the Run made its way to Indiana in 2007 in. Jill Schlueter-Kim, the Executive Director of Girls on the Run of Northwest Indiana council started the first site in Highland, Indiana.
“We had one site in Highland with 15 girls,” she said. “I was a stay-at-home-mom with a background in social work. I worked with youth and I was a runner so I thought Girls on the Run was a perfect fit for me.”
Since then, Girls on the Run of NWI has grown and now serves Lake, Porter, La Porte, and Jaspers Counties. This spring season brought out 1,000 girls, and nationally Girls on the Run has served its 1 millionth girl.
“Our goal is to help them become strong, healthy, and confident young women,” Schlueter-Kim said. “We use running to deliver these lessons. Some girls have never run before but by the end they can complete a 5k. We use running to deliver our message but we aren’t a running program. We want them to learn about themselves and be the best they can be… This program has a strong message and people are drawn to it. We have a lot of great people and volunteers who give of their time to make this great.”
Over 250 volunteer coaches are part of this season in NWI. Over in Portage, Theresa Evans, a second grade teacher, helps to provide a good example to the young ladies in that area.
“I love being part of Girls on the Run because it’s about more than running,” Evans stated. “Girls on the Run empowers all of our girls by giving them the tools to be successful, healthy, and confident in social, emotional, and physical ways. Watching the girls grow is extremely rewarding and watching them complete the 5k in May is an added bonus!”
The Girls on the Run 5k takes place on May 16, 2015 at Highland High School at 8am. Pre-race activities will begin at 8am and the race is at 10am.
Photo credit: Jill Schlueter-Kim