by guest contributor, Audrey Seilheimer, Girls on the Run of Greater Kalamazoo, Marketing and Fund Development Associate
Girls On The Run Is, “SO MUCH FUN!”
Greater Kalamazoo area girls in 3rd-5th grades are invited to register to participate with Girls on the Run teams at over 60 area schools and community locations around Kalamazoo County. This marks the 13th year of the program in our area. The Greater Kalamazoo council of the Girls on the Run International organization is among the top 10 largest and most successful in the country! What makes the program so popular? “We have so much fun and we offer a program that parents, girls, schools, and really our whole community benefits from in one way or another,” said Program and Volunteer Coordinator, Andrea Burke.
What is Girls On The Run?
Girls on the Run is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. It is a life-changing after school program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through running and self-esteem building activities. Teams meet twice per week after school for 10 weeks. This year the program will be starting in March 2015. The program combines team lessons and peer discussions to build confidence and raise awareness of the girls’ individual strengths as they train for a 5K (3.1-mile) run and celebration at Western Michigan University’s Waldo Stadium on May 21, 2015. As one girl said, “It helped me learn how to be the boss of my own brain!”
New This Year For Girls
Girls who have participated in the past will notice fun, new lessons based on a recently updated version of the program curriculum. Girls will sign up for the Spring 2015 program online at www.girlsontherunkazoo.org under “Register Your Girl” or in person at four area Kalamazoo Public Library branch locations on November 8 from 10:00-12:00pm. (Locations include Central Library, Oshtemo, Eastwood, and Alamo.) If you are unable to attend a registration event at one of these library locations, you are asked to register online. The registration deadline is 5:00pm on November 30, and families are encouraged to register early!
New This Year For Coaches
Community members, parents, teachers, mentors and friends who are interested in serving as coach or assistant coach for a team need to register now to be placed with a team. Two coaches must be signed up at a location before participants can be added to that site’s roster. “This ensures that we have the right number of dedicated coaches in place before we get girls organized at each location. We can’t have teams without our wonderful coaches!” said, Melisa Beeson the Director of Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run. Interested coaches can apply at www.girlsontherunkazoo.org under Get Involved “Coach/Assistant Coach” now through November 2, and will be trained in sessions throughout the fall/winter months to become CPR certified and fully versed on the curriculum. “Coaching a team of girls is the most rewarding experience I have ever had in my life. You think you are just giving your time at first, but what you can gain from these girls and their perspectives is immeasurable,” said Carrie Curry, former Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run Council Member and coach at Oakland Academy in Portage.
The 10 week after-school program cost is $160 per girl. The program fee includes a new pair of running shoes (personally fitted to their feet by Gazelle Sports,) Girls on the Run t-shirts, water bottle, lesson materials, 5k training, and registration for the GOTR 5k Run/Walk on May 21st at Western Michigan University’s Waldo Stadium! Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run makes its program available to ALL girls, in all financial situations, based on their family income. The organization relies upon community and corporate donations, grants, SoleMates and other fundraising income to fund these scholarships. Last year, community partners like Eaton Corporation funded hundreds of scholarships for girls in our community.
More About Greater Kalamazoo Girls On The Run
Over the past 12 years, Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run has served more than 20,000 girls. This year, more than 300 coaches will mentor over 2,000 girls- empowering them with the confidence and character they need to become strong, healthy women. Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run is an affiliate council of Girls on the Run International, founded by Molly Barker in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 1996. A four-time Hawaii Ironman triathlete, she used her background in social work, counseling and teaching, along with research on adolescent issues, to develop the program. Today, there are Girls on the Run councils in over 210 cities across North America and Canada serving over 140,000 girls each year.
For More Information
For further information please visit www.girlsontherunkazoo.org or contact Director, Melisa Beeson at 269-532-1220. Communities In Schools of Kalamazoo serves as the fiduciary for Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run.
Connect with Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run: search #GOTR and #Kzoo
Audrey Seilheimer works in Marketing and Fund Development for Greater Kalamazoo Girls on the Run. When she isn’t in the office, she can be found writing, traveling the “Mitten State” with her husband and two boys, and working on her little blog, @vintagemitten.