TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Giving preteen girls a voice and a belief in themselves.
Girls on the Run is a non-profit after-school program in the Big Bend that teaches young girls how to build healthy relationships. The results speak for themselves.
It isn't a running club at Girls on the Run. Students also skip, jog, hop and laugh but there's so much more.
"An empowering uplifting club where girls can truly become who they were meant to be all along and to teach them that everything they already need is inside of them, they just needed someone to remind them," said Jennifer Powell, the executive director of Girls on the Run in the Big Bend.
The Girls on the Run program targets girls in 3rd to 5th grades. That's an age when young girls often begin comparing themselves with others which can be tough on their self esteem.
"I hate to see these girls talk about being fat in third grade or not enough or not good enough or not fast enough," said Powell.
That's why the program teaches them to be loving, compassionate, and kind, not only to others, but also to themselves. The program runs for 10 weeks and is currently offered at 15 Leon County Schools, six of which are Title I schools like Astoria Park Elementary.
"Our students are economically disadvantaged," said Evangeline Riggans, a teacher and voluteer coach at Astoria Park. "It doesn't take away from them individually it's just their economic status."
The running part of the program is about the connection between emotional and physical well-being and it's not performance based. Everyone is a winner and at the end of the program, the girls empower themselves by completing a non-competitive 5K.
"I think it's very passionate and I've learned a lot from it," said Serenity Daniels, a participant in the program.
For more information about how to get your child into Girls on the Run, click here.