Girls on the Run: More Than Running

By Alison Ahrens

What started with thirteen girls in one school in 1996 in Charlotte, NC has grown to over 2 million girls transformed nationwide and counting. With the help of over 100,000 volunteers, Girls on the Run empowers more than 200,000 girls annually in all 50 states and Canada. Focusing on the important connection between mind and body and instilling confidence, nurture, care, and compassion in every girl.

Girls on the Run of the Greater Piedmont, an independent council of Girls on the Run International, started in the spring of 2008 with just 4 teams of 48 girls and 8 volunteer coaches from Iredell County. To date, serving over 10,000+ girls in Alexander, Forsyth, Iredell and Rowan Counties, supporting 60+ teams and approximately 800 girls annually, with all thanks to 225 volunteer coaches. Due to the generosity of sponsors and donors, financial assistance is able to be provided to 37% of girls who otherwise would not have been able to participate.

In Fall 2022, Girls on the Run is expanding to Davidson, Davie, and Yadkin Counties to offer the same opportunity of social, emotional, and physical learning that has been instilled throughout other counties across the U.S. Our councils mission remains simple; reach and serve more girls. In Spring 2023, growth to Guilford County will place Girls on the Run steadfast as the only national physical activity-based positive youth development (PA-PYD) program for girls with compelling evidence of impact bringing more opportunity to girls in the greater piedmont area than ever before.

Girls on the Run is about more than running. Unlike traditional coed programs that merge all children together under the same lessons, Girls on the Run recognizes coed programming is a one size fits all approach that hinders children during their most crucial developmental stages. Appropriate activities, conversations, and environments help children thrive thus our research-based curriculum and focus on the whole girl.

Girl’s face seen and unseen challenges and barriers that make reaching their potential more difficult for them than their peers as their self-confidence begins to drop by age 9. 50% of girls ages 10-13 experience bullying such as name calling and exclusion, and their physical activity levels decline at age 10 which continually decreases throughout adolescence.

Through research, Girls on the Run has a positive impact on all participants and has the greatest impact on girls who enter the program with lower perceptions of their physical, social, and emotional competencies. 85% improved in confidence, caring, character, or connection and 97% learned critical life skills and strategies to apply to all aspects of their lives. This knowledge further underscores our responsibility to remove barriers to access and provide programming that is inclusive of and equitable to girls from all backgrounds and communities.

After 10-weeks and 20 lessons on confidence, character, caring, connection, competence, and contribution through a community service project, the Girls on the Run 5K is an essential component of the program, as it is an experiential opportunity for girls to learn and embrace the confidence that comes from accomplishment. It is also a fundraising and brand awareness opportunity for the Girls on the Run Greater Piedmont Council connecting the girls back to the community.

All proceeds benefit supporting program advancement of our Girls on the Run program and ensures that every girl has an equal opportunity to participate regardless of financial limitations and/or other barriers.

The Girls on the Run of the Greater Piedmont 5K will be held on Sunday, May 15, 2022 at North Iredell High School in Olin. (156 Raider Rd., Olin, NC 28660)

Arrival Time: 1pm
5K & Community Runners Start: 2pm

To be a community runner or volunteer at the event visit RunSignUp.com, race search – Girls on the Run of the Greater Piedmont 5K or runsignup.com/Race/NC/Olin/GirlsOnTheRunGP5k.

Donations to support local girls can be made at: www.gotrgreaterpiedmont.org/Donate.

Thank you to our sponsors: Rack Room Shoes, Novant Health – Rowan, Academy Sports + Outdoors, Love Chiropractic Center, Rowan Health & Wellness, Carolina Crossroads Dental Care, Kernersville Magazine, and our community supporters: North Iredell High School, Harris Teeter, and Two Men and A Truck.

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