Contests & Giveaways Girls on the Run

We ♥ Girls on the Run

March 3, 2014

Girls on the Run

WE LOVE GIRLS ON THE RUN. Their mission runs close to home for us: They teach young girls to be healthy, confident and strong by developing a love for running. This program wouldn’t be possible without all the amazing volunteers who sign up to be tutu-clad running buddies and pink-haired cheering fans, dedicating anywhere from a couple hours a year to several times a month to this awesome cause. That’s why we created this contest—to recognize and reward all of these amazing people, and give them a platform to inspire YOU to support GOTR.

HOW TO ENTER. If you’re a Girls on the Run coach, volunteer or donor, tell us a little something about what inspires you to get involved with all these raring-to-go girls. What prompts you to sign up again and again?

To be eligible for entry, simply comment below including which GOTR chapter you’re involved with.

THE PRIZE? Each Monday throughout March, starting on the 10th, we’ll randomly select two eligible commenters to receive a $50 Athleta gift card. (Perhaps it will go toward your next GOTR race outfit?) One entry per person, please. Read the official rules here.

P.S. To spread the word and encourage others to get involved, we’ll also share the most inspiring entries on our Facebook page, so follow us there and help share the GOTR love!

CONGRATULATIONS to our weekly random winners!

Week One » Stacie from the Point Pleasant Chapter and Shawn from the Puget Sound Chapter.

Week Two » Bethany from the Rhode Island Chapter and Lindsy from the Maricopa and Pima County Chapter.

Week Three » Jill from the Tri Counties Chapter and Kara from the Rockies Chapter.

Week Four » Susie from the DC Chapter and Stephanie from the Greenville Health System Chapter.

Visit Facebook to read some of our favorite entries and help spread the GOTR ♥ »

118 Comments

  • Reply Cyndie Pelto March 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    As an educator and running enthusiast, I was immediately drawn to the Girls on the Run program and mission. I was first introduced to the program as a Running Buddy, and those two 5Ks forever changed me. As a former teacher, turned Stay-at-Home-Mom, I was craving the teaching experience once again. I knew our school would readily adopt this program, and I spent the next two Spring Seasons as a Head Coach at Oak Hills Elementary with the Portland Girls on the Run Chapter. Getting to know the girls, leading them through difficult discussions and workouts, and cheering them on as they each completed their goals were some of the most rewarding experiences I have been a part of that did not involve my own children. And when they decided to host their own Fun Run as their community service project, I couldn’t have been more proud. I blogged about it here: http://rediscoveringrunning.blogspot.com/2013/05/fun-rungirls-on-run-helping-others.html

  • Reply Janelle March 3, 2014 at 5:17 pm

    As a teacher, I educate students daily in the classroom. As a Girls on the Run volunteer, I have the ability to teach students in an entirely different way. I can teach young girls that your best is good enough. I can teach girls that all you have to do is put one in front of the other. I can teach girls what is means to be healthy. I can teach girls that no matter what, someone is there to support you and tell you that you can do it. I can teach girls the power of the running community.

  • Reply April Massett March 3, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    As soon as I saw the GOTR info table at the expo of a half-marathon I completed, I knew that the girls in our community would greatly benefit from this. Growing up, I was shaped different, I learned differently than others and I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. My “awkward” years lasted through my 20’s. It wasn’t until I started running, being active and accomplishing goals that I never thought I would, that I finally started to feel confident. That is what Girls on the Run brings to young girls… The power, the tools, the encouragement to get out there, get moving, and feel strong. So I contacted the local Napa Valley chapter and brought it to our elementary school in Fairfield. I’m beginning my third season coaching. I love seeing the smiles, strength and sweat on the faces of the girls I coach. I set out to coach them, but they inspire me.

  • Reply Sandy Bernhardt March 3, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    This is my fourth season as a GOTR coach with GOTR Cincinnati. I love watching the girls confidence grow with each lesson and getting to know them on a different level away from the classroom.

  • Reply Jennifer March 3, 2014 at 5:45 pm

    As the PE teacher at the school I coach at I am always happy when the GOTR girls ask me if we are going to run that day in class! What brings me back season after season is seeing the small lifestyle changes that these girls are making, the empowerment they have to be strong leaders in their classrooms and the difference they are making to their peers. Everyone wants to be a girl on the run at my school……even the boys! #gotrstl #budergirlsrock

  • Reply Beth Wendelberger March 3, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    This is my first season coaching for GOTR Michiana. Last year I did a 5K and I saw a girl running with a GOTR cape. She had a group of fans cheering for her on the sidelines. I remember that she had a huge smile on her face and was so proud of herself. Her determination inspired me to work even harder while I finished the race. When I got an email a few weeks later about the opportunity to coach for GOTR I knew immediately that I wanted to be a coach. Even though it was 3:00 am and I hadn’t finished studying for an exam the next morning I spent the next hour filling out the application and recounting the story about the girl that inspired me during the 5K. I have only coached for a few weeks now and I absolutely love it. Every time I show up the girls could not be more excited to see me, and they can’t wait to find out what we will be doing for the day. The most rewarding part of coaching is watching the girls share their ideas, grow, and encourage their teammates. The girls are brilliant and often provide profound answers to the questions that I ask. Many times they share ideas I had never thought of before. I am looking forward to the rest of the season and can’t wait to watch the girls accomplish something they have worked toward for so long.

  • Reply Sookie Landsteiner March 3, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    I love what GOTR stands for. I love seeing the journey the girls go on, physically and emotional! Not many programs out there openly talk about the issues that GOTR does. It opens up a line of communication not only between coach/girl and with each other but also it goes back home for parents.
    The girls also help remind me to keep running FUN!!
    GOTR Twin Cities is growing fast and I’m so proud to be a part of it!

  • Reply Rebecca March 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm

    Seeing the joy on my daughter’s face as she is running, and hearing the girls in the group change their language and thoughts from negative and self conscious….to positive and empowered is what inspires me to be involved in GOTR. So happy to be a part of bringing this program to my daughter’s school this year! (North Central WV)

  • Reply Stacie Ferrara March 3, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    I became aware of GOTR from Alpha Sigma Alpha Facebook posting and new immediately I would get involved as a coach. I had a 2nd and 4th grade daughter at the time. I read everything on the website and Molly Barker’s book. After attending training and preparing to bring the program to my town, I got 45 girls to sign up for our first season last year. I loved each practice lesson and the activities and conversations that were planned out. The activities really got the girls moving, thinking and talking. Seeing all of the happy faces each week really made it so easy to do. As a parent, coach and volunteer I appreciated all of the positive feedback I received from the parents about their daughter’s feelings about participating in the program. One last perk has been getting to meet all families in town that I see now and talking about how much fun we had. Check out our pics on our Facebook page …Girls on the Run Point Pleasant

  • Reply Meaghan Shiffler March 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm

    I love coaching Girls on the Run because I WAS a Girls on the Run. I participated in the program from 3rd to 5th grade, and I know, without a doubt, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the lessons I’ve learned. I’m so happy to be able to give this wonderful opportunity to other girls because I know myself just how amazing this program truly is! What inspires me most are the differences in all of the girls’ confidence and attitudes from day one to the race day! It’s amazing to see such growth and beauty before your eyes and to know that you’ve played a small role. I can’t wait to continue coaching for years and years to come!

  • Reply Kristina March 3, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    I volunteer as a coach and do Solemates because I wish I had gone through the program myself and believe every girl should have the chance to be a Girl on the Run. And every time I coach I learn something new from my girls. It reminds me to follow the core beliefs of GOTR. Its a program near and dear to me and I whole heartedly believe in it and how the girls benefit from the program. And the fact that most go from never having run a 5k to completing one as a team always impresses me and is most rewarding watching them achieve this goal.

  • Reply Stacey Smith March 3, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    I have been a coach now for three seasons. I started it at our elementary school and these girls have changed me every season. I wanted to volunteer to coach since I had three daughters and wanted to spread the Girls on the Run message and lessons to instill in not only my girls my as many others as I could reach. I never would have thought how much I would learn from these girls each season. To watch them grow not only in the physical part of running but, emotional and social as well from the beginning to end of the season is amazing! To know these girls leave Girls on the Run being more self confident, positive, help others and in their heart know they can achieve anything ,is the best gift a coach can receive. I look forward to many, many more seasons as a coach and hope to start a Girls in Track chapter next Fall at our middle school.

  • Reply Hannah Ebbing March 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I came upon Girls on the Run randomly one day when I went to the campus gym and saw two young women promoting it at a booth. I had no idea what Girls on the Run was and started up a conversation with them, not knowing the impact it would have on my life. After that day I’ve become a coach and SoleMate for GOTR for Longfellow Elementary in Southeastern Iowa and absolutely LOVE the experiences it has given me! My team is awesome and they bring so much happiness to my day. Not only do I help support and encourage others but I help myself as well. Sometimes I feel that I too am learning these wonderful lessons about beauty, strength, and compassion along with the girls. As a team, we each offer our own unique gifts and we end up learning from each other. The girls have the right amount of silly and the right amount of determination to make our program successful. I am proud of my team because I know that they are taking these lessons to heart and I can truly see them grow into their full potential. I love serving as a role model and helping shape happy, confident young women! I’m so glad that I found GOTR and I can’t wait to see what this season brings!

  • Reply Stacey Smith March 3, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    I forgot to add I am a coach with the NE FL chapter.

  • Reply Kelly Thompson March 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm

    I was asked by my niece to be her running buddy. This will be our first ever experience with GOTR. I continue to be more and more impressed with the organization. I think it is becoming more and more critical we teach our girls to believe in themselves with confidence. To be friendly and lastly to be kind. I am elated to share this experience with my 9 year old niece and I know that we will both learn lessons that will last a lifetime.

  • Reply Ashley March 3, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Initially I became involved with the Girls on the Run program because I was excited that there was a running program out there for young girls. As an elementary teacher and long distance runner, I just had to bring the program to my school. Now, as a second season coach at Girls on the Run Poconos in PA, I can honestly say that I become more and more in love with the program everyday. I have learned that there is much more to it than running, and I have seen the difference it makes in the lives of my girls and their families. Since all of my girls are on scholarships in order to afford the program, I have taken it upon myself to not only coach my team, but to also train as a Girls on the Run Solemate to raise money for this amazing program. What better motivation to get up and go everyday? Girls on the Run really is so much fun!

  • Reply Jessica Lane March 3, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    My daughters first season of Girls on the Run was challenging, exciting, fun, inspiring and motivating. She learned so much about herself, friends and how to navigate life’s challenges. I remember growing up and the challenges that faced myself and my friends. It’s hard being a girl! The pressures are intense, peers are judgemental and tough on one another. I’m so happy to have a program that addresses these challenges and teaches girls true coping mechanisms.

  • Reply Kate McCollum March 3, 2014 at 6:31 pm

    As a national Teen Advisor for Girl Up, a campaign of the United Nations Foundation, I think of myself as an advocate for girls. I know the potential girls have and the power they possess to be an agent of change in their community. I heard about Girls on the Run through Girl Up, and I thought it would be a great way to help girls on a more personal level, as the work I do for Girl Up is more global. Volunteering for Girls on the Run as a junior coach at the Tulsa Council has allowed me to personally witness the transformative effects of the campaign, and it has reaffirmed my knowledge that girls deserve to be heard and prioritized.

  • Reply Lauren Richardson March 3, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    I first heard about Girls on the Run back in 2001 at Camp Seafarer in Araphahoe, NC. I was there for a mother/daughter weekend with my oldest 2 girls, then 6 and 8 years old. We got to meet Molly Barker and hear her amazing story. I thought it sounded like an amazing program, but I also had a 2 and 4 year old at home, and couldn’t fathom adding one more activity. And there was no way I would have considered coaching at the time– I was doing plenty of “running” at the time, but none of it in the direction of completing a 5K. A decade later, I was at my heaviest and most unhealthy and decided to start exercising daily. I lost 60 lbs., and after the first 30, I started running. I completed my first 5K in 2012, and went on to run 25 more races in the months that followed. Running had changed my life, and I was running with my 3 daughters and my son, but i really wanted to find a way to share the gift of better health and empowerment with others. That’s when I remembered Girls on the Run. I found them online, registered and trained to be a coach, and have enjoyed every minute. I volunteered to “give back,” but I have to admit, I get at least as much as I give. Those girls brighten my entire week! And i’ve even helped a few parents train to run the 5K with their daughters. And one of my girls even helped me get over my fear of trail runs! Every week, I go hoping to share something with those girls, and every week, I end up learning something about myself. It’s been an incredible experience, and one I am extremely grateful for!

  • Reply Tracy Selock March 3, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    I became a GOTR coach in Spring 2013. The school where I teach has so many at risk young ladies that I felt I must do something more to show them what the world has to offer. We began with 13 of the most difficult ladies our building had to offer. I am proud to say that after one season of GOTR, 9 of those girls became student of the month! Last season our program grew to over 40 girls. I am so proud to be part of something so wonderful. GO GOTR Kankakee, Illinois. Sparkle Fingers!

  • Reply Andrea March 3, 2014 at 6:42 pm

    I have been an assistant coach for Girls on Track, a running buddy and currently am helping to plan an event to recognize 10 years of Girls on the Run in Cincinnati. I initially became involved with GOTR because I thought it was a program that gave every girl the chance to run. While it’s great that GOTR teaches fitness lessons, there are so many wonderful lessons about topics that are so important for young girls. I know that I get just as much out of the lessons as the girls and love seeing their transformation throughout the season. I hope that the girls always remember their first 5k and know that they can achieve anything they want!

  • Reply Kristin Anderson March 3, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    I signed up to volunteer with Girls on the Run in NYC as a way to stay active and become more involved in the local running community. I was assigned to coach girls at one of the homeless shelters in the city. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I discovered a group of resilient girls who, despite not living in the best environment, showed up to practice each week with smiles on their faces and boundless energy. The girls learned a few things, but not as much as I did. Last week, we learned that the shelter was closing and could no longer host Girls on the Run. I was able to find another site, but I am going to miss our team. But, I have confidence the girls I coached will be fine. They are strong, creative, and smart. That’s what Girls on the Run is all about.

  • Reply Emily Phan March 3, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I started out volunteering time with Girls on the Run when my sorority chose them as a National Philanthropy, but I had heard about them previously from a friend who coaches. As a runner and a mother of a girl, I was immediately drawn to the amazing message of the program. I think preparing girls to be confident, positive and healthy before going to the rough time that is middle school is such a great idea. I’m now both a coach and a SoleMate and I love it. I love observing the self-doubt and fear they have melt away when they see and know that they can go the distance. I love seeing how they beam with confidence and joy when they complete the 5k. I love how silly and goofy we can all be together and that it doesn’t matter. And most of all I love it because Girls on the Run is SO MUCH FUN!

  • Reply Emily E March 3, 2014 at 6:47 pm

    This is my first season as a GOTR Coach and from day 1 I have been so impressed by GOTRI. The curriculum, the program manager, the community..it’s all AMAZING! I am beyond excited for this season and everywhere I go I speak about GOTR because I am so passionate about the mission. Young girls need positive role models and empowerment to express themselves, and GOTR is a great program that accomplishes this. As a strength and conditioning coach I love how physical activity is incorporated in a way that makes it fun for the girls but also gets their hearts pumping! This world needs strong female leaders and I believe it starts with these young, powerful girls! #PowertotheShe We need to continue to empower these young girls all across the world to dream and let their confidence shine, so that one day they can lead and give back to their community, just as they benefited from community programs such as GOTR. I <3 GOTR!!! Especially GOTR Kansas City-where I'm coaching! Thank you GOTR and Athlete for putting together such a wonderful program, because of you we will help develop beautiful, confident, superstar young girls that will make this world a better place!

  • Reply Carissa Green March 3, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    A few years back, I found solace in running. I never intended to become a ‘runner’ and to be honest, it was quite intimating to begin the journey. You see all these images of athletes and you think to yourself that there is no way imaginable that you could ever live up to those standards. I eventually found confidence in myself and truly understood the benefits of running beyond the physical health benefits. GIrls on the Run has allowed me to combine my love for running with my passion of teaching. I have seen how this program, either through the curriculum or training, has built confidence in girls that would otherwise seem to slip between the cracks. There are so many obstacles these girls go through every day and it is challenging to find the time to teach them to build confidence and be proud of who they are so that they can stand up for themselves and be an inspiration to others. I currently coach for Girls on the Run-Dane Co. It has been an incredible journey and I am excited for the seasons to come. I encourage anyone to seek out their local chapter and donate your time and wisdom. You definitely won’t regret it!

  • Reply Sara Bruesewitz March 3, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Growing up, I would have loved to be apart of an organization like Girls On The Run! As a young professional just out of college I love the ability to take my professional skills to the committee and help raise dollars for this great organization! I was so inspired my first race day watching the girls expressions as the crossed the finish like! Love GOTR!

  • Reply Lindsy March 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I became involved with GOTR of Maricopa and Pima counties to give back to my community. I’d volunteered with several other charities but was longing for a cause with which to engage in a deeper and more meaningful way than simply manning a booth at a community event once a year. I wanted my efforts to make an impact. I’m relatively new to GOTR but believe wholeheartedly in the mission and have seen, first hand, the difference this organization makes in girls’ lives. The dedication of the coaches and volunteers is amazing and inspiring. GOTR has even inspired ME to start training for my first 5k.

  • Reply Heather Garrison March 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I am a mother, a wife, a lawyer, a yoga teacher, a daughter, a friend and a GOTR coach. I was supported in some way by many inspiring women along this journey. It is my sincere honor to support girls in creating goals and achieving them. More importantly, to remind girls to support one another.

    The positive message that GOTR sends to girls during a critical developmental time in their lives can make all the difference in the world. I believe in this program and the ability of these girls. Shine on girls!

  • Reply Mercedes Smith March 3, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    We’ve been trying for years to get GOTR at our school. Finally last Fall season, our dreams became reality. We started small but grew each season since. The girls have so much enthusiasm & the will to get better. At the beginning their confidence in themselves are sometimes lacking, but by the practice 5k they are shocked & excited to run that distance. It’s awesome to see their self confidence blossom. Best job ever!!

  • Reply Meredith March 3, 2014 at 7:33 pm

    I’ve coached GOTR for 7 seasons and I love it! I love seeing the newcomers be a little bit unsure about what it is we’re doing and the returners jump right in with both feet. I love seeing a girl who could barely walk 1/4 mile grinning as she runs across her first 5K finish line. I love the way they make connections between what we talk about and what happens in their lives everyday. I love it because Girls on the Run is so much Fun!!! 🙂
    Girls on the Run New Jersey East

  • Reply Susan Peskar March 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    As a Girls on Track (GOT) at Mountaineer Middle School in Morgantown,WV, I am always inspired by the girls’ smiling faces and positive attitudes. They are always full of endless energy and ready to learn! These girls are most definitely raring to go and I love it! I may be the coach but, they have so much to teach me!

  • Reply Courtney Osterhage March 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Although I’m not a coach or someone who is helping run the GOTR event, I am a running buddy. My step daughter asked me to be her running buddy for the spring season of GOTR….not knowing how much I HATE running. There was no way that I could tell her no, what an awesome way for us to build a closer bond. So, I have decided to train with my step daughter. I am a terrible runner, she now knows that I hate to run, but I am doing this for her. Not only am I doing this because I love her, but also as a lesson to her, her younger sister, and any of the other girls who know how much I don’t like to run. Sometimes adults do things that they don’t really like or enjoy, just like kids. Since I have started running with my step daughter, our bond has strengthened already, we have even more little secrets between the two of us, and I don’t hate running nearly as much as I used to.
    I’m doing this for more than my step daughter, I’m also doing this for me! I need to push myself, which is going to show my two step daughters that they can do anything they set their mind to. As long as you work hard and dedicate yourself, good things will come! I am beyond grateful for the opportunity that has been presented by GOTR at our school! I can’t wait to *hopefully* RUN the big 5K in a few short months!!

  • Reply Janet Tust March 3, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    The very first season of GOTR at Lecompton Elementary School was just last Spring so our program is fairly knew. Being new to “movement” myself, I hesitantly watched from the wings and helped out at the practice 5k. I was HOOKED like a fish on a line! When one of the coaches asked if I’d like to help coach for the following Fall Season I felt so special. She thinks I can do this! Heck, yes I can do this! What a BLAST we had with the girls every week. Their shining faces at the end of a long day was all I need to get me ready to move. GOTR will never ever leave me-even when I may not be coaching. So that’s my story….truthfully I really could put an athlete gift card to excellent use because I am a beginner and some of my work out clothing combos could frighten small children! I hope to win!!!!!!!thanks for the opportunity:)

  • Reply Cheryl Kupras March 3, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I am a 3rd year coach for Girls on the Run. I initially got involved after seeing my cousin post pictures from the GOTR 5k she did with her daughter. A few months later, I started the program at my daughter’s school. I am a clinical social worker and think of GOTR as prevention! Such excellent life lessons they can apply their whole lives! The girls are so inspiring! They push a little harder, run a little faster, laugh a little harder each week! Girls on the run is so much fun!

  • Reply Heidi March 3, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    As an avid exercise enthusiast now as an adult, sharing my passion with the young girls is so powerful. I am a first grade teacher and thoroughly enjoy coaching GOTR with “older” girls. This is an activity I wish was around when I was in 3rd-5th grades. We are in our 4th season of GOTR in McFarland and loving what this is doing not only for the girls but also us as coaches!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the messages Molly and GOTR promote!

  • Reply Jennifer Hall March 3, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I am a GOTR coach, first time, but I already know this will be a longtime gig for me. I was drawn to this program because, as the mother of two young girls, I see the challenges these girls face at a VERY young age. Now that I’m coaching these 8-10 year old girls, I see and hear the reality of body image issues, poor eating habits and a self-deprecating view of fitness. But I also see their appetite to learn something different, something positive and to be given tools they can use every day. They are excited and open. This program is SO needed in our communities. I know this program is great for all of its participants but if we can change the perceptions of even just a few on our teams, we’ve made a magnificent impact to the next generation. This program plants seeds that will last a lifetime. What an honor and privilege to be a part of that process and those memories!

  • Reply Jennifer Hall March 3, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    I am a GOTR coach (Sacramento Chapter) for the first time, but I already know this will be a longtime gig for me. I was drawn to this program because, as the mother of two young girls, I see the challenges these girls face at a VERY young age. Now that I’m coaching these 8-10 year old girls, I see and hear the reality of body image issues, poor eating habits and a self-deprecating view of fitness. But I also see their appetite to learn something different, something positive and to be given tools they can use every day. They are excited and open. This program is SO needed in our communities. I know this program is great for all of its participants but if we can change the perceptions of even just a few on our teams, we’ve made a magnificent impact to the next generation. This program plants seeds that will last a lifetime. What an honor and privilege to be a part of that process and those memories!

  • Reply Megan Wolfe March 3, 2014 at 9:45 pm

    I’ve coached for three seasons and now get to support other coaches for Girls on the Run Puget Sound! This program captures so many messages close to my heart! Running and being active in general have given me so much my whole life and passing along the messages of self confidence and loving yourself is magic to me! These girls inspire me so much and the GOTR attitude and idea have gotten me through some tough times personally! I plan to stay involved for as long as they’ll have me!

  • Reply Melissa Brott March 4, 2014 at 3:01 am

    In two weeks I’ll be starting my fifth season as a GOTR coach. Coaching GOTR has been the most rewarding volunteer experience of my life!! I love the program, the lessons, the girls, the 5k! It’s such a positive program, with positive results for the girls & coaches!!! I coach because I believe in the program and even though my daughter is now too old to
    participate , I love being a part of such a wonderful positive program & watching new girls gore & change because of it! I love GOTR!!!

  • Reply Kim Dixon March 4, 2014 at 4:44 am

    Everything you read says Girls on the Run is about changing girls’ lives, but it’s important to know that it also change’s WOMEN’S lives. Not just the women that these girls are going to be, but the women who are involved now as coaches and buddies. At my school, girls on the run is a safe and happy place, full of positivity. There aren’t many places like that in the world – places you know you can go and be accepted for who you are and what you do. I’ve coached GOTR for 10 seasons now and each season makes me a more confident and engaged person. Each season has made me a stronger woman who feels better and better about who I am. Watching these girls train for and complete their first 5K is an inspiration – it is life changing. I had never run before, but my girls inspired m to train for MY first 5K, then 6K, then 10K….with the support and encouragement of my girls each step of the way. Coaching GOTR is not only giving back to the community and the school, it’s giving something TO ME, and I’m so grateful it’s in my life!

  • Reply Kya Schnettler March 4, 2014 at 6:44 am

    I was introduced to Girls on the Run when the YMCA I had just started looking for needed and additional coach last year. Over the past year I have gone from part time coach to steering committee member, full time coach, and advocate for GOTR. I can’t get enough! There is a saying that volunteering is the most selfish thing you can do – it gives more to you than you give in the end. That is 100% true with GOTR. This program taught me so many things that I had forgotten in the adult world about how worthy I am and how I do have strength to accomplish all my goals!
    Our girls give me the strength I need to keep moving in the direction of my own dreams and strive to build healthy relationships. The daily issues most of these girls face in school and family life is overwhelming for an adult let alone the child facing it. Seeing the pride and laughter on the girls faces when they complete their 5K is indescribable. I am proud to be affiliated with GOTR and thankful for how much it has taught me in the past year!

  • Reply Bethany Warburton March 4, 2014 at 7:06 am

    RI Chapter: As coaches we learn so much from these young ladies as they talk about their experiences. The courage they show in stepping forward to be vulnerable, honest, and their authentic selves is amazing. Inevitably we coaches say how much we wished we had this program when we were young girls. And that’s exactly why we do it – devote the hours to this amazing organization – because we “get” what this will mean to these girls in 6 months, a year, a decade… And to facilitate and witness their incredible journey is an incredible gift.

  • Reply Gabrielle March 4, 2014 at 7:40 am

    NYC Chapter: I love coaching Girls on the Run because the girls’ energy and excitement is so contagious!

  • Reply Brynne Koscianski March 4, 2014 at 7:59 am

    DC Chapter: Running was such an important foundationfor developing a healthy body image – focusing on what by body can DO rather than what it looks like. I LOVE “paying it forward” – sharing this strong foundation with the girls in my community.

  • Reply Shawn March 4, 2014 at 9:59 am

    Puget Sound Chapter! When I volunteer with co-ed school-aged organizations its as if just the presence of boys is enough to prompt some girls to dim their glow or other girls to be uncharacteristically over-competitive. That never happens when I work with the Girl Scouts or Girls on the Run, and its so refreshing! Just helping to create a safe environment where girls can try – and fail, sometimes – without the fear or ridicule or shame is enough to make me want to come back for the next event. Any opportunity I get to offer an experience to a girl that I wish I had as a child is one I’m happy to participate in.

  • Reply Kathy Lentz-Martin March 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I first discovered Girls on the Run at a local 5k several years ago. I googled it and found the GOTR website. After reading about it, I knew I wanted to be involved. In 2006, I contacted a council director closest to the area that I had been teaching at the time. With her help I was able to start the first Girls on the Run site for our elementary school, which was also the first site for that school district. It stands out as one of the things that I am most proud of. I have coached Girls on the Run on and off since then, and I now have 3 young girls of my own. My favorite part about the program is the goal of completing a 5k. To a young girl who has never ran that distance, the goal seems nearly impossible. However, as a coach you get to help make it possible and see the girls through it every step of the way.

  • Reply Suzanna March 4, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    This is my third year coaching the Girls on the Run program at the elementary school I teach at. It’s a truly amazing program! The school I’m at is a Title I target assisted school and also has a center based gifted program. The gifted students are clustered together and often do not interact with other students. GOTR has allowed my girls (from both the gifted and general ed classrooms) to interact with one another and realize that though they have differences, they share similarities and they CAN work together. I’ve also see friendship blossom between girls that would never have had the opportunity to meet and become friends.

    What keeps me coming back? There’s no better feeling than watching a girl who starts the season doubting her abilities and even herself. My first year of coaching, I worked with a 5th grader who could barely walk a lap and was on the verge of quitting. She was quiet and confessed to me later that she felt uncomfortable being with some of the other girls-girls smaller, thinner. With encouragement and time, she came out of her shell and and finished the GOTR- 5k running!

    GOTR has also been life changing for me. Prior to coaching, I had never RUN and ENTIRE race. This past fall, I finished my first half marathon. I NEVER thought I could do something like that, but coaching GOTR has taught ME that I can do anything!

    Thank you, Athleta for supporting such an AWESOME cause for our girls!

  • Reply Katherine March 4, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    I absolutely love girls on the run. I was an assistant coach for GOTR of the Shenandoah Valley while i was in college at Shenandoah University. I absolutely loved getting to watch the girls grow over the season. I love it so much, I’m going back to Winchester in May for the 5K!! They went from completely inactive to being able to run a 5K and being confident. I love the running aspect of the program, I totally support encouraging kids to be active (I’m getting my master of public health in physical activity. I know its important) but I really do believe the curriculum teaches the girls to be confident,true to themselves and just wonderful people. we teach them things that are so important before they turn into teenagers, like how to resist peer pressure and stand up to bullies. I love it. I wish GOTR was around when I was elementary school. Working with the girls helped me decide I want to use my masters degree to develop my own activity increasing , confidence promoting childrens program when I graduate.

  • Reply Jenn Carlson March 4, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    This is my first time coaching GOTR. I am so excited about the opportunity to work with my daughter and inspire her and her friends to believe in themselves and be all that they can be!

  • Reply Kari Leonard March 4, 2014 at 7:36 pm

    What is so wonderful is GOTR brings together girls who may not socialize together otherwise. They begin as strangers and by the end, they are a team of girls who encourage each other and work together to achieve goals. This is my second year coaching and I am even more excited this year than last because I cannot wait to see our girls open up and become stronger more confident young ladies. Thank you Molly for GOTR, without your vision and your passion to empower young girls, all the coaches would not have this opportunity.

  • Reply Sarah Walters March 5, 2014 at 3:33 am

    I credit GOTR with inspiring me to start running in August. My niece participated in GOTR a few years ago, and my sister started running to support her. I was admiring their commitment to health and fitness and bemoaning how I could never do it. My niece wouldn’t let that fly! Together they told me strong I was and how sure they were that I could do it and how it “didn’t matter how I got there as long as I got there”. I started a C25K program that afternoon and it has done wonders for my self esteem. Every time I run further than I thought I could (which let’s be honest, was more than a minute at first!), I feel soo good about myself. I carry this sentiment throughout the rest of my life: “If I could RUN when I never thought I could, I surely can do this!”. I signed up to coach my first season of GOTR this year, and I’m giddy with excitement. I can’t wait to go through the lessons and see the same kind of transformations in the girls. While I keep wishing that GOTR was around when I was a kid, I’m so thankful that it exists now. I expect to get just as much (if not more!) out of the experience as the girls do!

  • Reply Kate Otto March 5, 2014 at 3:50 pm

    I am a UW-Milwaukee graduate student earning my Masters in Library and Information Science and Master’s in History in a coordinated degree program. I have been active and in sports all of my life but took up running during my undergraduate career. I chose to volunteer with Girls on the Run because it allows me to give back to my community through an activity I love. In process, I get to make fulfilling relationships with young ladies who help me grow as much as I help them process many aspects of growing up into healthy and considerate women. Girls on the Run helps make running fun for me when it gets redundant or when I’m side lined with an injury. I see the girls smiling faces, hear their encouragement, and recognize their effort and it helps put life in perspective. Volunteering with Girls on the Run makes me happy!

  • Reply Janice Bloch March 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Having grown up with two parents with physical disabilities I have learned to be grateful for my good health. My mother taught me that you can do whatever you set your mind to and that your limitations are only in your own mind. Last year I watched my then 9 year old daughter struggle with friendships, self esteem and all the difficulties that go along with that age. I was familiar with the GOTR program and realized I could help more than just my daughter by starting up the program at her school. My background in teaching group fitness along with the help of our teacher/coaches proved to be the perfect combination for GOTR. The friendships that were formed and the lessons that were learned were invaluable. I was humbled by our group and their unconditional friendship. We are super excited to be starting our second season in a few weeks and have all the girls from last year returning, plus more!
    Thank you Molly for taking the time to create this amazing program and for continuing to help it grow, and to Tina Jones and Kim Timms for providing the leadership for our Milwaukee, Wisconsin chapter.

  • Reply Cassidy March 5, 2014 at 5:04 pm

    I’m involved with the GOTR of Southeastern MI. I have thoroughly enjoyed being a coach, with this being my 3rd season. I’m a teacher at my school and it has been wonderful getting to know some of my students on a different level. They’ll come up to me during the school day and tell me what they achieved in gym class, how they’re making healthy choices at lunch and finding ways throughout their day to be positive role models for their peers! I’ve had girls in the younger grades find me in the halls to tell me they’re going to join GOTR when they’re in 3rd grade….they can’t wait for it! The girls’ enthusiasm for the program makes me realize that I’m doing the right thing for these girls by being their coach!

  • Reply Angie Gmur March 5, 2014 at 5:27 pm

    I love what these girls teach me. 😉 I get so mich more than I give. 😉

  • Reply Meliss Glenn March 5, 2014 at 5:28 pm

    I have only ran a few 5K’s with my mom, but one of the best times I have ever had was when we ran the Girls on the Run 5K together in 2013. One of my sister’s college friends was the Volunteer Coordinator for Girl’s on the Run Michiana and told my sister about the 5K the year before. My mom ran it that year and helped volunteer. After the 5K she told me how wonderful the program was and began planting the seed about starting a team with her, at the school where I was teaching. It sounded like a fantastic program, so the following year I joined her at the Girls on the Run 5K. I had no idea what to expect, but when I got there I completely understood why my mom wanted to start a team with me. Groups of girls, with smiles from ear to ear warmed my heart immediately. Everyone wearing #1 sent a powerful message and as I looked around everyone was having a blast. As I began to run I only got more excited about starting a team. The cheering along the way was above and beyond any other 5K I had every been a part of and I knew we just had to start a team. So we did! We worked together to find volunteers and girls to participate. We had so many girls sign up that we started a second team! My mom and I are working together to coach at Perley and the girls that we have on our teams are loving every minute of it! I can’t wait for 5K where my mom and my sister (who introduced us to GOTR) will join me and we all run together, along with the beautiful smiling faces of our Girls on the Run teams!

  • Reply Rebecca Murray March 6, 2014 at 8:41 am

    This is my first season coaching and I wanted to be involved in such a great program because growing up I was fortunate to have a family friend who was an amazing mentor to me. She believed in me at a young age and even ran my very first 5k with me in 5th grade. I’ve been running every since! I was an extremely shy child (and still a somewhat shy adult) and running has boosted my confidence and self image, as well as brought me so many great friendships over the years. Running makes me feel strong when I’m feeling down and challenges me set goals for myself to achieve things I never thought I could. This mentor helped me in so many ways and I am excited to be a mentor to other girls in my community!

  • Reply monet tiedemann March 7, 2014 at 6:18 am

    This is my first year coaching Girls on the Run in Southeastern Michigan. I was drawn to this program for the empowering lessons it teaches girls. I want my daughter and her peers to know their bodies are strong and capable.

  • Reply Tara March 8, 2014 at 8:48 am

    This will be my second year coaching for Girls on the Run. I am so excited for the spring season to begin! When I first heard of the program, I thought that it would never come to my rural area. A few short months later I noticed an article in the newspaper for Girls on the Run of the Southern Tier (NY). A few meetings later I was on my way to coaching a team for Girls on the Run! Running has provided me with the confidence to tackle larger life endeavors and I love being able to pass that learning on to young girls. Being a girl can be tough in this world-especially without the right support system. Being part of Girls on the Run is my way of reaching out and making a difference in as many ways possible!

  • Reply Andrea March 9, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I’m excited to start my 1st season coaching GOTR on Tuesday!! I am a teacher, and our school (Renaissance Academy) has had teams in the past, but in recent seasons hasn’t had enough interest. I stepped up to coach along with fellow teachers, and happily we have a waiting list this season! I’m looking forward to teaching these amazing lessons and values with a great group of girls, and bond with my students outside of the classroom while we build strength in body and mind!

  • Reply Andrea March 9, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I forgot to say our school is affiliated with the YMCA of the Brandywine Valley!

  • Reply Coach Kiki March 9, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    As an oncology nurse, my days can be very sad and emotionally overwhelming; which is why I am thrilled to have started my third season coaching for the Philadelphia Chapter of GOTR. There is something wonderful about stepping into that schoolyard and being flocked by a team of girls with smiling faces eager to share their story and wanting to learn how to live a joyful, healthy life! I have witnessed so many girls start a season being shy, bashful and lonely to finish with not only a team of new friends, but with a personality bursting with confidence. It’s truly inspiring. My GOTR girls rejuvenate my soul with each practice allowing me to be the best nurse to my patients!

  • Reply Sharie Dale March 9, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    I am a coach. I am having a blast watching these girls grow for shy, quiet, bullied, “not in the group”, to confident, happy, healthy girls. I live in one of most obese states in the union, so this program is perfect. Plus I have had the great pleasure of meeting some incredible women along the way. Girls on the run is so much fun!

  • Reply Jennifer Hastings March 9, 2014 at 3:58 pm

    It is my first year coaching GOTR in the Philadelphia School District. On my first day, I entered anxious smiling faces, in a round circle on the gymnasium floor. My heart melted as soon as I saw the girls in their athletic gear, holding their GOTR water bottles. I was surprised by how much information all the girls had to share about themselves. I was also so happy to see how every girl listened so intently to the other. At the end of practice, we ran our laps. Some of the girls held hands with coaches they had met for the first time. Other girls held hands with one another. As a P.E. teacher, I have never held hands with a student during class. This experience with girls on the run will forever hold a place in my heart…running hand in hand with one of my students for the first time, smiling, and laughing all the way. My hope is that each girl creates a memory or many memories to hold onto for the rest of their lives. Something that will touch them deeply, whether a coaches words or an activity they loved. I joined GOTR to not only empower girls, but create everlasting memories that will touch their lives forever.

  • Reply TanyaHowbert March 9, 2014 at 7:14 pm

    Being an elementary school administrative assistant, I first learned of the GOTR program when the local council director left messages for the principal trying to the get GOTR at our school. Each time she called, she left a extra information than she did the call before. My principal told em to go ahead and set up a meeting with the director, and to put it on her calendar. The day of the meeting, I asked if I could sit in on the meeting, and my principal agreed. The more the director talked about it, the more interested I became. I asked if I could be the coach right there on the spot. I then became a coach for Team Berryton (a part of the Girls On the Run of Topeka, Ks Council) for the Spring 2011 season….I had 6 girls enroll. I am now beginning my 7th season, and have 2 teams totaling 33 girls. I can’t say enough good about GOTR. I love this program for many reasons, the lessons, the fitness, the “girl time”, the bonding, the feeling of empowerment we all walk away with, the celebration of being a unique individual, being proud of who we are, etc. I have made relationships with the girls that will be everlasting, and will carry on into the years ahead. I know that by me volunteering to coach, lives of young girls are changing for the positive. They come out feeling more confident with themselves and are able to be proud of who they are! “Super Super Girl Power”!

  • Reply Brenda Bushey March 10, 2014 at 6:09 am

    From the moment I read about GOTR being offered at my daughters school, I knew I wanted to be involved. The positive, inspiring goals that it sets are amazing. My daughter gas high functioning autism and does not have any close girlfriends and prefers to be by herself. I thought this would be a good way to expose her to new friends. This is her 3rd season and now I am coaching for the first time. The first season I just sat in back and was available if they needed me to work with her, they never needed me. All of her previous coaches were amazing, loving, kind and supportive. I am thrilled to be a part of such an inspirational program that can help change young girls outlooks and ideas about themselves and the world we live.

  • Reply Jenna P. March 10, 2014 at 8:50 am

    This is my first year coaching for Girls on the Run and I am so excited! It is an absolutely amazing cause which builds self-esteem and healthy lifestyle habits for young girls. As a college student, seeing the change exercise can make in young girls’ lives will surely shape the career path I choose and the woman I become.

  • Reply D. Griffith March 10, 2014 at 9:40 am

    I have been a Girls on the Run coach & running buddy since 2008 & I LOVE IT! Being able to give back to the community on this level has been very rewarding experience not only for the girls in the program but also for myself. I believe empowering young girls with all the wonderful useful information given to them in the 10 week program & coaching them to run a 5k is only going to propel the girls in the right direction in their futures & teach them just how awesome they all are. I wish Girls on the Run had been around when I was growing up. Girl Power!

  • Reply Stephanie Pohlman March 10, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I am not a parent or a teacher I am just a runner who attended a GOTR race (I was running the local race at the same time) and saw the excitement and enthusiasm of the girls as they were getting ready and warming up. I immediately signed up to be a coach the next season. I didn’t have a specific reason, I just saw these girls getting ready to run a race and they were so happy and so excited it just seemed like the thing to do. I was in no time a coach and soon after a solemate raising money for the less privileged girls. As someone who works long hours and often weekends in a stressful job I take my lunch break two days a week to coach at a local school for the GOTR Greenville Health System Chapter. Why? Because I love it! My girls inspire me just as much as I inspire them and it is just that break I need from my day. Seeing these girls grow and learn about themselves is my favorite part of GOTR and nothing is more inspiring than running the 5k and seeing how happy they are to have completed the race. I use their inspiration in my own running and when I am feeling particularly down or simply don’t feel like running that day I think about the smile on one of my girls faces and suddenly running 10 miles seems easy!

  • Reply Mary E Kreis March 10, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    I became a GOTR coach 6 days ago, but I have been looking forward to doing this for over 9 years – since my daughter was in the womb!

    We have 10 girls signed up at my daughter’s school – Rostraver Elementary in Belle Vernon, PA! This group includes 3 girls from another school and 2 home schooled girls, so we have a diverse, ENERGY-packed Motor GOTR group of girls!

    I’d love to win and to be able to tell our girls that they should and can try anything – you NEVER KNOW where you might succeed! And winning with Athleta would be a great start!

  • Reply Stacy Aldrich March 10, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    I love GOTR. I coached for the first time in 2011, took a couple years off, and am now back to coaching this year. My daughter will be joining in. GOTR gives so much to young impressionable girls, the curriculum is great, it teaches them to be themselves, to be healthy, and so much more. i am so proud to be part of GOTR.

  • Reply DeShanna King March 10, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    I have been coaching Girls on the Run as part of the Greater Houston chapter for 2 seasons now. There are so many reasons I love Girls on the Run. My most immediate response is because every day, I have the opportunity to encourage, empower, and mentor 18 of the most incredible young girls I have ever known. Their love for themselves and each other grows with each lesson and practice and they in turn pass it on to others in our school, their families, and in our community. There is truly nothing more inspiring than seeing a girl who may never have even thought about running or even setting a “scary” goal, push herself to go farther, dig deeper, and be unwilling to stop until she reaches it. They also take great pride in never leaving a fellow teammate behind, running and cheering along side those who come in after them until they reach the goal as well. These girls are future leaders and mentors and it is such an honor just to spend the 3 hours per week with them and watching them become more and more self-aware and comfortable in their own skin. More and more, the girls I have the honor of coaching learn the central lesson in all of this: it’s not about how fast or slow you are, how old you are, what you look like, what you have or do not have, nor where or what you come from. What matters most is where you are going and who is along for the journey. That is a lesson that transcends the program; it is a lesson for life. I truly learn much more from them than I could ever teach. Although I have been an avid runner for over 10 years, nothing has been more of a source of encouragement in every race I have run than coaching Girls on the Run. They truly are MY girls and I love them all. I will be forever grateful for all the time I have with them now and with every season 🙂

  • Reply Grace R March 11, 2014 at 5:06 am

    I am starting the Girls on Track team at my middle school in order to empower young women during a time in their lives when things can seem overwhelming and confusing. I want to inspire healthy decisions and a love of running/ exercising to give happiness to these girls. Running changed my life, my outlook and my body. I want to teach girls how to set a goal that may scare them, and how to accomplish that goal both as an individual and as a team. I hope to teach girls how to be proud of themselves without being boastful.

  • Reply Jill March 11, 2014 at 5:41 am

    I coach GOTR in the tri counties of SC and have for 5 years! I love seeing girls realize they can do so much more than they thought they could. I feel so much more positive and encouraged when I leave our practices – the girls on the run spirit is contagious. 🙂

  • Reply Haley White March 11, 2014 at 9:49 am

    I am a first year coach for Girl On The Run in Southeast Alaska, Sitka Chapter! This has been the most exciting and rewarding program I have ever been a part of! I am a strong believer in physical fitness and positive female role modeling to empower our youth into healthy contributing members of our community and what better way to influence and motivate these young ladies than by truly demonstrating a positive running program that highlights everything amazing about being a young girl! I have been so moved and touched by the sincerity, openness, and motivation that each girl brings with her to practice every day! I plan to continue my time with GOTR for several season to come and to encourage others to join and become a part of this amazing opportunity to influence and share experiences with these amazing young girls!!!

  • Reply Hao Le March 11, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I am not a teacher. My children do not attend this school. I don’t live or work anywhere near this community. So why the heck am I volunteering to coach at River Glen School?? Because women are still paid way less than men for the same work. Because only a fraction of our companies and governments are led by women. Because too many girls lose interest in STEM classes by the time they get to high school. Because of the fact that there even needs to be a #banbossy campaign. Because we still have much work to do. And because girls are awesome – they just need to know it, feel it, believe it.

  • Reply Jeanne Turlington Lind March 11, 2014 at 10:16 am

    I got involved with girls on the run because of my stepdaughter. She needed a running buddy. I thought if I am going to be a worthy running buddy I need to practice with the girls. It was the most rewarding thing I have ever done! The first time you run in a 5k sponsored by girls on the run you feel empowered! The program does just as much for you as it does for them. I love the program so much I became the head coach for spring. I encourage every woman to volunteer at least once.

  • Reply Jeanne Turlington Lind March 11, 2014 at 10:46 am

    Come on girls let’s encourage each other as we do our teams. I put some likes up there I want to see some more!! You all are wonderful for serving girls on the run. Practice what we preach!!!!

  • Reply Meredith March 13, 2014 at 7:07 am

    As a New York City resident, I support GOTR NYC because I want help girls reach their limitless potential!

  • Reply Jennifer Klemmetson March 13, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I’m a community volunteer coach at a Title I school in Phoenix, and I love to see my girls get more confident in themselves. By the end of each season, they all realize that they are strong, beautiful and special in their own way. Girls on the Run is teaching these girls they can do anything they want – their potential is limitless!

  • Reply Shawn Brown March 14, 2014 at 5:25 am

    This is my 2nd season as a coach for the Greater Chesapeake Council (Maryland) and my first year running as a SoleMate. I am raising money by running in the Iron Girl Half Marathon in Columbia, MD on April 27th. This will be my 5th half marathon but certainly the most important. Girl Power is at the heart of my identity. As a life long athlete (I played lacrosse in college), a proponent of single sex education for girls (I went to an all girls school for 7 years), and a member of a sorority in college I have seen first hand how positive female encouragement can change a life. GOTR is so important because I believe that encouraging girls to be joyful, strong and active when they are young sets them up for a lifetime of success, however it is they define success. Seeing the smiles on my girls faces as they crossed the finish line of the 5k filled my heart with joy and gratitude. I am not a teacher and I am not a mom. I am just a girl who loves to run and I encourage other girls to do the same not only for the health benefits but for the friendship and support. Women empowering the next generation of women…there is no greater mission we can aspire to. Thanks Athleta for your support of GOTR!!

  • Reply Kara Diamond-Husmann March 14, 2014 at 3:53 pm

    In 2006 I ran my first marathon, Colfax Marathon! I found running to be extremely invigorating, I loved the positive energy of the race environment and it helped build my self-confidence.Over the next couple of years I ran many marathons, half marathons, and Ironman Races around the country, placing in the top three of my age group at many marathons. And, in 2012, I was named one of Colorado’s fastest marathon runners in Colorado Runner Magazine.
    As my passion for running was growing exponentially, I felt an urge to share this passion with others. I heard of a program called Girls on the Run, a national organization that teaches 8 to 13 year old girls self-respect, confidence, and healthy lifestyles through running. I immediately knew I wanted to be part of this organization. I could integrate my love for teaching young kids (I am a former teacher) with my love for running and help build self-confidence in girls. I’ve been a coach and site director for Girls on the Run now since 2006 in the Denver Metro area. I brought the program to my own children’s school in 2010, Steele Elementary. Every season I learn more about myself and who I want to be with myself and others! I practice the lessons I teach everyday!
    The Girls on the Run program ends each year with the girls completing a 5K run at an organized race event. It is very rewarding being an inspiration to all the young girls I get to work with. And, watching all the young girls cross that finish line with a sparkle in their eye, an uncontrollable smile on their face, and an “I can do it” attitude is so inspiring to me.

  • Reply Christy Kondogiani March 15, 2014 at 5:19 pm

    This is my second season as a coach with GOTR in the Plymouth, MI, Chapter which is a part of the Detroit Metro. I can’t even begin to express the joy in my heart that I have when I run with my 8 year old daughter, Lexi, who is in the third grade. It’s something that I have to say, I hoped and prayed for for a really long time. When I was in the third grade myself, my then third grade teacher, Mr. Cain, taught me how to run. We had a small elementary track team and he taught us how to run, how to breathe properly… but what he didn’t know then was….he was teaching me literally and figuratively…how to run as far away as I possibly could from my house. I lived in a very troubling environment where I needed as much strength as I could muster to get through some tough tough years. As I took the tools he gave me to win my very first ribbon in a one mile race at our high school track, I took something that I thought I could never ever do, into aspects of life I carry with me today. To never give up, to always look forward when it’s so easy to look back and to reach for things you never thought possible. And that’s exactly what GOTR teaches these beautiful girls. To be a part of something so special now with my very own daughter and her friends is such a dream come true. It’s an honor and a priviledge and really…as so many people say over and over again….you end up getting so much more out of it than you could ever put in.

  • Reply Cheryl Kupras March 15, 2014 at 6:06 pm

    This is my 3rd year as a Girls on the Run Coach and I know that I get as much or more our of the program than the girls do! I tell people that it is the best volunteer experience of my life! Even this year I was amazed in Lesson 2 at how many of the girls already expressed feeling a part of something, the Girls on the Run Program. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think that I would be a sports coach of any kind. I was the bookish, class geek and definitely not the person first chosen for any athletic endeavor. I had dabbled with running (mostly walking) throughout my adult life: I did the sporadic 5K for a fundraising event, I completed a marathon with Team in Training in 1998 and had not run 26 miles since then when I heard about the GOTR program from one of my cousins who is also a coach locally.

    During the 2012 Spring Season I got to work with two other wonderful women who inspired me as mothers, leaders and runners as well as 15 beautiful little girls who blossomed during the season. in 2013 I get to work with one returning coach and one new coach (and our former coach has moved on to Girls on Track at the Middle School) In this, the 2014 season, we doubled the size of our team to 2 teams and despite the initial anxiety about the size, it melted away the minute those 30 beautiful little girls took to the field!
    In my first year as a coach, I was nursing an injury and had a cortisone injection in my knee and was a walker/timekeeper most of the season. I watched our team of girls set personal bests, inspire and reward one another with Energy Awards and grow in their own sense of self and self-confidence. I helped to teach lessons that my daughter and I would talk about over dinner and with the other members of our family. You cannot teach these lessons without learning them as well. Since completing our first Girls on the Run 5K, my daughter and I have done 5 other races together. I have lost 20 pounds and gained a whole new outlook on the role of exercise in my own life and how it contributes to my overall health each and every day. Girls on the Run is so much fun for everyone involved! I now know that it will be one of those very special things that my daughter and I will share throughout our lives.

  • Reply Eliza Hersh March 19, 2014 at 10:50 am

    I am so proud to have brought this awesome program to Spokane County! This will be our first season in Spokane County. I serve as the Director and a coach. I have background working with at risk youth and women in the criminal justice system. I see this program as much needed prevention and as a resiliency building tool. I see the girls I work with grow on a daily basis and it is so inspiring and meaningful to me! It makes all if the hard work so worth it.

  • Reply Alison Vinson March 19, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    It is my daughter’s first season with Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia. I am looking forward to seeing her confidence grow and the look of accomplishment when she crosses that finish line for the first time.

  • Reply Jill Hibbard March 19, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    This is my fifth year as a GOTR coach for the Northwest Michigan chapter of GOTR. What keeps me coming back is the ability to facilitate the “I can do it” attitude in the girls at my school. I am also a teacher and initially started because our GOTR athletes were in grades 3-5. I taught 2nd grade and wanted to work with my past students. At the beginning of
    the running season the girls are excited, but after a few practices we begin to see the doubt set in. “I can’t do it.” is a phrase spoken by some of the runners. It feels wonderful to inspire these girls, but it is even better to watch their fellow runners encourage and cheer them on during the season. At the final run those words of doubt turn to “I did it!”

  • Reply Pankti March 20, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    I’m coaching with Girls on the Run (Philadelphia) for the first time this season! I came across GOTR when I moved to philadelphia in December and instantly fell in love with their mission and program. I’m a physical therapist by day, and overall (mental and physical) health enthusiast the rest of the time. I love that GOTR targets both dimensions of health, as mental health is often overlooked. From coaching the past three weeks, I can only imagine what the girls are experiencing during this transition period in their lives, but I am so glad to be able to help guide them through and hopefully motivate them to make the right choices for both their emotional and physical well being. These girls have so much to say and bring to these group discussions, I have to say I think I’m learning as much (if not more) than they are through this experience. Will definitely return for another season!

  • Reply Danelle Jiron March 21, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    This will be my eigth season with GOTR Los Angeles. I am coaching for the 7th time. One season I was not able to coach but did help serve as the site liason. I got involved with GOTRLA because of my amazing daughter. I heard about the program years ago while living on the East Coast. I kept in the back of my mind and as soon as my daughter reached the appropriate age I contacted GOTRLA. They were so awesome and helped me start a team at my daughters elementry school. When my daughter moved to the middle school once again they supported us by helping start a team at her middle school. After eight seasons my daughter is quite the runner but more importantly she is confident in who she is and is proud of herself. Admittedly I am not a runner but I really wanted to give the gift of running to my daughter and girls her age which this program has helped me do. She will be a runner for life. She is looking forward to the day when she can come back and coach girls as I have coached her. This program truly gives girls skills and tools they can use for life. Being both a Coach and GOTR parent I have unique point of view…and the program does really work. I have seen it in the choices my own daughter makes and in the choices of the other GOTR girls I coach. I can speak highly enough about this program and I hope that word continues to spread. Imagine a world full of confident, self assured girls, that know they can do anything they set their minds to…what an awesome place to be!!

  • Reply Katie Bott March 22, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    This is my first year as a GOTR coach of Chesterfield County (Bon Air Elementary). From the minute I walked into the door of our coaches’ training I was hooked! The message behind this organization is so empowering and inspirational. I was brought to tears watching videos of the girls. We have been through about 3 weeks of practice now and my love for GOTR has only grown. I am in such awe of these young girls and the way in which this program positively impacts their lives. They get the message and they want to spread it to others. Their confidence has grown in just these few weeks. It is so moving to watch girls I new as timid first graders being transformed into strong and confident girls who care about each other. I love GOTR!

  • Reply Erin Mathews March 24, 2014 at 7:31 am

    This is my fourth season as a coach for GOTR Greater Summit and my first as head coach of a new team at Avon Heritage South. I became a runner in middle school at the encouragement of a teacher and, at the time, I had no idea the kinds of things the sport would teach me about myself, what it meant to be a team player, and the life lessons I would later use as an adult. I distinctly remember being the age of our participants, the anxiety that comes with trying to fit in, the desire to be myself, and how much running did for me at that time. When I found out about this amazing program, I knew it was something I had to get involved with… I wanted to share with these girls all of the amazing things I learned for myself at that age. Since I began four seasons ago, I’m finding that I still have so many important life lessons to learn, and these girls continue to teach me those lessons season after season. They’ve taught me so much about being strong, embracing my unique qualities, and being a positive role model. I love playing a part in making them the confident, healthy young women they are growing into.

  • Reply Nancy Thome March 24, 2014 at 9:47 am

    I’m a Girls on the Run coach for Southeastern Michigan at Estabrook Elementary. This is my fourth season coaching and I LOVE it. The girls commitment to each other is inspiring! Their desire to learn and grow is what keeps me coming back season after season. We have lots of fun acting silly, building our confidence, and running/skipping/galloping our way to the 5K in May! 

  • Reply Allison March 24, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I am still learning along with all of the girls I coach, even during my 13th season with Girls on the Run, San Diego.
    I have not only gotten to be a part of something so amazing, and satisfying, but I have created a web of strong, positive, encouraging women just like myself. Together we are not only teaching some really important topics to these girls, but we are creating a support system from a real place of love and encouragement and genuine pride for one another. I really love watching GoTR bleed into everyone’s day to day lives, girls, moms, coaches: women.

  • Reply Melissa March 24, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    I coach for GOTR San Diego and this is my 6th season coaching. I continue to coach because going to practice at the end of a work day is the best part of my day. I love the energy and contributions the girls offer!

  • Reply Teresa Neilson March 24, 2014 at 2:07 pm

    I am an assistant coach for GOTR San Diego. I love it! What an amazing opportunity to get outside the office once a week, enjoy the beautiful San Diego sunshine and the beautiful young women of GOTR . Together we are plugging in to living a healthy lifestyle, having fun, making supportive friendships and sharing a positive message about what it means to be a confident woman of character! As a Regional Coordinator for Gamma Phi Beta Sorority, coaching is providing me with a firsthand experience to share with the university women I work with every day about all the opportunities there are to support Gamma Phi Beta’s International philanthropic partner, Girls On the Run, in our efforts to support Building Strong Girls. The energy is super contagious! This is one of the best volunteer experiences I have ever participated in!!!!

  • Reply Michelle Stabile March 24, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Hi! I am with the San Diego GOTR chapter and here at my elementary school we are in our 3rd season of Girls on the Run! My school is located in a neighborhood where students don’t get much opportunity to get involved in extra curricular activities. I decided to start this team a few seasons back because I love the message Girls on the Run sends to our girls, and to give our kiddos a chance to have a positive experience outside of school too. I love seeing all the girls grow & change in their confidence and personality throughout the season. I thank Girls on the Run and Athleta for the opportunities they give our girls!

  • Reply Jenica Lundgren March 24, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    Growing up can be hard at times. Being a mother of girls, I have seen first hand how challenging this can be. Sometimes we simply don’t know all of the right things to say to help encourage young girls. I fell in love with the Girls on the Run program the moment I read their mission statement. I believe every girl has the power to change the world in a positive way. Being a head coach in the San Diego chapter has changed my life more than I could have ever imagined. At every practice, I have the privilege to teach positive core values and often times I also learn things about myself. Staying plugged into a positive cord has become a part of my girls lives. Coaching girls to be the best wonderfully unique version of themselves is an awesome thing, but watching them set goals and crush their expectations is even more powerful. Fast or slow, skipping, running or sometimes twirling, we keep moving forward toward our goals… and before we know it, we realize we can do anything we set our mind to.

  • Reply Emilie Osterfeld March 24, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    I was interested in volunteering as a coach after I heard and read about this program. I love how it empowers girls, creates a wonderful environment for them and teaches them how to make good choices now and in the future. It just also happens to do all this with running and showing an active lifestyle! What’s not to love about it!? I am with the San Diego chapter.

  • Reply Liz Taylor March 25, 2014 at 9:06 am

    My daughter became a GOTR girl last fall and fell in love with running as well as the overall GOTR program. When the coach of GOTR needed some time off this spring, another mom and I stepped in to sub for her just to keep the program going. I’m no runner, but I believe deeply in giving girls these skills to be successful in life. I only wish every girl could go through the program. I know it would have helped my greatly during the adolescent years! I just love seeing all of the comments here and am so proud of everyone that is a part of this unique program.

  • Reply Denise Pang March 25, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I love knowing that my daughters and the dozens of other girls I have coached will use their GOTR tools and lessons to help navigate them through life. What better gifts can we give our girls (HALF of the world’s population!) than the confidence in, and ownership of, their bodies, minds and emotions? Whether I coach a girl for one season or three, I know that she will carry with her the Girls on the Run spirit to better herself and her community!

  • Reply Denise Pang March 25, 2014 at 11:36 am

    Oops, I forgot to mention that this is my fourth year coaching with GOTR Silicon Valley in California.
    Thanks!

  • Reply alyssa March 25, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    As a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority, I have had the pleasure of helping out our philanthropic partner, Girls On The Run, many times throughout my college experience. I have even been lucky enough to receive an assistant coaching opportunity with a local chapter this spring, and it has been a blast so far! I love running with the girls and experiencing each lesson with them because I have found that I learn a lot about myself through the process. I can’t wait to see all of the positive changes in the girls by the end of the season. Girls on the Run is so much fun! Girls on the Run is number 1!!!

  • Reply Susie Morrison March 25, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    I have been volunteering with the DC Chapter of GOTR for 2 years and absolutely love it! I have been a running buddy, done face painting, and have also been a part of Team Adelaide. It has been an amazing experience and that is why I keep volunteering! I am someone who is very passionate about instilling a healthy body image and self esteem within young girls and absolutely LOVE what GOTR does! I really enjoy helping to empower these girls and love seeing the confidence and leadership that comes along with the GOTR program. This is an outstanding non-profit, and I tell everyone I can about them! Thank you for helping sponsor GOTR, Athleta! You rock =)

  • Reply Rachel Giza March 26, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I am a teacher from Buffalo, NY with a love for teaching and fitness. When I heard about the Girls on the Run program, I was so eager to be a part of it. During my season of coaching, I looked forward to each day I spent with the girls after school because I saw them grow into happy, confident, healthy girls! It was so clear to see what an impact the program had on the girls lives, attitudes and friendships. That is what I love about GOTR. Each of them also inspired me to start running again. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the GOTR Buffalo program by running with my students and encouraging more girls to become a part of the program each year!

  • Reply Heidi Donald March 26, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    I am a school social worker in a low income school just outside St. Louis. Five years ago a friend told me about Girls on the Run and I knew I had to be a part of it and share it with my students. It is incredible to see how much this program has changed them and opened up their world! I’ve seen girls learn to trust, to set goals and reach them when they never thought they could. I am also amazed every time we go to downtown St. Louis for the 5K race to see my girls’ expressions when they see 5000+ girls from all different backgrounds and they realize that they are a part of something so special–being a girl!! Thank you for supporting this program!

  • Reply Jennifer March 26, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I am a fifth grade teacher and this is my first year as a coach for girls on the run. I am so excited to share my passion for running with our girls, and am delighted to witness their empowerment. Yay GOTR!

    Rocky Mountain Chapter

  • Reply Holly Harris March 27, 2014 at 8:04 am

    My full time job is the School Resource Officer (SRO) in the Gilford Community for grades k-12. I see kids at all levels and abilities, the best part is watching them grow into themselves. As a parent of two girls 7 & 10 I understand the importance of positive reinforcements and a healthy life style for us. Plus working as the SRO I see many issues with our youth and the lack of self confidence. I became a police officer at the age of 30, I had never ran before, however since, then I have completed two full marathons and several half marathons. There is such a great feeling of stepping over that finish line. I don’t want these girls to wait 30 years to have such a feeling of accomplishment. I’m hoping that by giving and allowing them to prove to themselves at a young age that they can do “IT” they can do anything that they put their minds to. This is my second year as a coach for GOTR and I cannot wait for the excitement of these girls on race day and watching them improve over the next 10 weeks as we grow together. Sometimes this is the only time these girls hear how special they are because of their unique qualities, so by reinforcing all the positive that this program offers, I’m hoping that these girls walk away with their head held a little higher and a lot more proud of themselves. That is my goal as a coach!! Coach in Gilford NH

  • Reply Mary March 28, 2014 at 11:45 am

    I have always been a huge supporter of this great program and coached when my two daughters were in elementary school in the Ottawa/Allegan chapter in West Michigan. I still have girls from my very first group (they are seniors now) tell me what a great experience it was and how they remember certain lessons and the impact it had on life decisions they have made in the years since. I am so proud to have been part of that. Now that my girls are older and I have been out of coaching for several years, I realized how much I missed it and wanted to try to make that positive impact on these young girls again.

  • Reply Pamela Lucina March 29, 2014 at 5:07 am

    I am a girls on the run donor, volunteer, mother, soul mate (charity runner) for GOTR Chicago. I became involved after having 3 girls and wanting for them the confidence that GOTR provides and education to combat eating disorders and bullying. My favorite thing about GOTR is witnessing those girls who thought they could never participate in sports because they weren’t particularly athletic, cross that finish line at the 5K. That smile and sense of accomplishment. It is sooooo much more than a running club.

  • Reply Theresa Houshmandi March 29, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Girls on the Run is an amazing program that inspires EVERY girl to be the best she can be, young and old alike! I love it that GOTR is an all inclusive program meaning that ANY girl can participate! I wish there was a program like this when I was young teaching me that I AM beautiful just the way I AM! I am thankful that my daughter is able to participate in GOTR; I have seen a transformation in her! I go to practice each week thinking that I am going to teach the girls, but really I think they are the ones teaching me! Thank you GOTR San Diego for the opportunity to inspire girls AND to be inspired!! 😉

  • Reply Kimberly Mitchell March 29, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    This is my first year at a gotr site coordinator and coach. I have been waiting for the right time to start this amazing program at our school, and I am thrilled with the response we have gotten. I am hearing from both the girls and their parents how much they are liking the program. And I love seeing the girls gain confidence and trust in us as coaches and mentors. My own daughter is in the program with me and we are loving everything about it! The women of the Chicago chapter have been wonderful helping us get setup here at Steck . Can’t wait for race day with our girls!

  • Reply Holly Reuter March 29, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    I have been coaching girls on the run in central Illinois for 3 years. Every season the girls amaze me with their abilities and thoughtful discussions!! I was never althetic as a kid. A program like this would have meant the world to me when I was that age! I am just now learning to appreciate what I can do and these girls teach me something new about myself every season. It is so nice to see them learning about themselves and appreciating themselves now at such a young age!

  • Reply Kristy April 2, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Utah Chapter! I coach GOTR because I know women my own age that unfortunately have not learned to be a GOTR yet. So I’m afraid their daughters and not learning these valuable lessons. I hope to be a positive role model in their life in the sad case that they may not have any.

  • Reply JoAnn Fisher April 2, 2014 at 8:01 am

    I love what GOTR stand for. My daughter did it last year and I did it with her. I loved it!!

  • Reply Lisa April 3, 2014 at 11:06 am

    I want to volunteer! How can I get involved with GOTR Minneapolis?

  • Reply Pamela Dorr April 8, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    What doesn’t inspire me to coach these amazing girls !!!? This is only my fourth year coaching GOTR , and every year it seems to get better and better. I look forward to this time of year every year! Why? Because I get to spend a few hours a week with an amazing group of girls that are filled with joy and excitement. Their energy is powerful and it lifts me up and reminds me how great it is to woman. It reminds me how important it is to help show these girls the power each girl, each woman has inside of her. And all I have to do is help them along a bit, beacuse they know it is there. My job as their coach is just to nudge it out of them a bit to let that power shine out from each of them. It is just that simple ….and so very inspiring.

  • Reply Kimberly Weiss April 10, 2014 at 8:37 am

    What inspires me about GOTR is helping these girls push to be the best versions of themselves. I love their smiles they accomplish something new and how intelligent they all are! I love to be a part of the magic!

    I am part of GOTR Fairfield County and work at the New Canaan site!

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