Girls are on the run in Flint, and getting in shape takes commitment, time and support. Coaches need training and a solid curriculum. Girls need running shoes, shirts, water bottles, and healthy snacks. With an $11,400 grant advised by the Flint Women and Girls Fund Advisory Committee, 100 girls in Flint will have access to the Girls on the Run after school program this school year.
Sponsored by Girls on the Run Mid Michigan, Inc. (GOTR), this unique program is targeted to girls in third through eighth grade.
Girls meet twice a week in small teams to learn life skills through fun, engaging lessons that celebrate the joy of movement. The overall goal is for girls to develop and enhance confidence, competence, caring, character, connection, and contribution.
"Our program encourages self-sufficiency through lessons that help girls to develop and improve competence, feel confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, and respond to themselves and others with care," said Stephanie McClintock, Council Director for GOTR. "Over a period of 10 weeks, girls make new friends, build their confidence, and celebrate all that makes them unique."
Physical activity is woven into the program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. At the end of each 10 week session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5K event. This celebratory event is the culminating experience of the curriculum.
Kerry Downs works as a Crim Fitness Foundation site director at Holmes STEM Academy in Flint. Kerry is excited that the program will be offered again in 2018 thanks to the Flint Women and Girls Fund grant.
"This program is having a huge impact on our students as well as the adults who serve as coaches and volunteers," Kerry said. "Last year a mom crossed the finish line and said she felt like a superhero. To have a mom in Flint participate in her first ever 5K with her daughter, and feel like a superhero, is a gift. It's about more than empowering and equipping our girls to release the greatness inside them. It's about empowering an entire community to seek greatness for their families."