THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WTXL) — Girls on the Run is going into its second year in Thomas County and it's already growing.
Rena Crew, Site Liaison and Head Coach, helped start the program in the county with two teams of 20 girls.
"Now we're up to four teams of Girls on the Run and Heart and Sole in a matter of a year," Crew said. "So it's pretty exciting to see the number of girls we're going to get to impact, and hopefully continue to grow over the next few years."
It's not just Thomas County that's seeing growth in the program.
According to Crew, the South Georgia coaches training at the end of January had 60 coaches, 25 of them new to the program.
Girls on the Run is a program for elementary school girls in grades 3rd through 5th.
"They are centered on caring, how to be compassionate, how to be a positive part of our community," Crew explained. "We do a lot of our lessons geared toward positive self talk, and when we're having a bad day how can we talk about it and then what can we do to do positive things in our life to help us turn that around."
Then there's Heart and Sole program that works with students in grades 6th through 8th. Two programs created to help inspire a healthy lifestyle.
"It's not just about the emotional and social part but now let's add that physical component and teach them how to be healthy and just get moving," Crew said.
Logan Herring is the 8th grade school counselor, she also coached for Heart and Sole in the fall.
She says even if some of the girls in those programs are not runners, they're still able to finish a 5k by the end of each season which can help in the long term for building relationships and confidence.
"Knowing that they can be successful in things that they work hard for and it also gives them the confidence to build up other girls," Herring said. "And they can go out there and say I was nervous at first but I was able to accomplish this and so can you."
Helping Herring accomplish her goal of having better connections with her students.
"It's just another way I can get more students involved and finding something to be connected at school with," Herring said. "Then I'll see girls I coach in the hallways and they'll be like 'hey coach herring' so I think it builds that sense of community that counselors are looking for and teachers are looking for."
The Sparkle and Shine Girls on the Run 5K, which is a 5K to end each season for Girls on the Run, will happen on April 15th at Wiregrass Georgia Technical College.
If you're interested in volunteering or participating you can go to the South Georgia Girls on the Run website.