6 Ways Girls Use GOTR Lessons in Everyday Life
Six years ago, when I first became a coach for Girls on the Run, I was also in graduate school pursuing my teaching degree. I looked forward to days I got to coach and see the girls work cooperatively, run longer or faster than they thought they could, and cheer for and support one another. Seeing them at practice was rewarding and made me proud to observe the intentional choices that would help them grow into thoughtful, encouraging and strong women. Yet, it wasn’t until I was coaching at Girls on the Run and working as an upper elementary school teacher that I really saw the profound impact the program had on our girls.
As a teacher, I saw my GOTR girls use the strategies they learned during practices in their everyday lives. One of my students took it upon herself to make sure no one around her was ever too hard on themselves. Whenever she heard less favorable dialogue, she would run up to the person and proclaim, “No negative-self talk!” She would then proceed to speak words of encouragement to them — reminding them of how awesome they are and that they should be proud of who they are.
After we learned the Stop and Take a BrThRR (Stop, Breathe, Think, Respond, Review) lesson, I saw girls who would typically become overwhelmed by assignments take deep breaths before they began, and then they would tackle their work with more confidence and assurance.
I saw girls who constantly had trouble managing friendships begin to stand up for themselves, talk out their problems, and become more forgiving and understanding. They learned how to address problems head-on with empathy and stopped blaming both themselves and one another.
Don’t just take my word for it! I caught up with some Girls on the Run alumnae about which lessons have helped each of them in their everyday lives:
1. They manage their emotions in healthy ways.
“Once, my friends were ignoring me, and I was upset and very uncomfortable. Instead of ignoring how I felt, I used what I learned at GOTR to tell my friend how I felt and that what they were doing was making me upset. She still didn’t stop, so I told a teacher and she said that we should all talk about it and fix the whole issue, so we did, and we didn’t get into any fights. GOTR helped because we talked about it, just like we learned how to do at practice.” – Samantha, 10.
“One time, I felt disappointed, but I like using the Star Power strategy because it helps me find my brightness!” – Emily, 11.
2. They are more effective problem solvers and communicators in their relationships.
“My friends and I didn’t know how to stop getting into fights. Communicating is what helped us, because after we talked about it, we started to all get along again. In GOTR, one of the strategies was communicating with others.” – Amanda, 10.
“I think the most important life skill is to communicate, because if you don’t, your problem is never going to get solved.” – Olivia, 11.
3. They have a more open perspective on life and the world.
“GOTR has inspired me to run and to look at things in different ways.” – Julia, 11.
4. They are self-reflective and realize the ways they’ve grown as an individual.
“I became more open and more honest.” – Lila, 11.
“GOTR helped me learn how to have better friendships, and how to choose friends who are positive and supportive. I still keep those lessons in the back of my mind and use them to help myself make choices about who I surround myself with.” – Emily, 15.
“I changed because I was more confident with running and with myself, and I was also more comfortable around people because I wasn’t shy and felt good about myself.” – Samantha, 10.
5. They let their Girls on the Run experience inspire them to reach new heights in life.
“It inspired me to try harder and to not give up.” – Amy, 13.
“When I did GOTR, it inspired me to never stop following my dreams, because when I ran that 5K, I didn’t stop until I reached the finish line. That was when I learned that I should never stop following my dreams.” – Emma, 14.
6. They stand up for themselves and others.
“Someone was being made fun of by my friends and so, instead of just standing there not doing anything, I stood up for her and helped her.” – Sophia, 11
Still using GOTR lessons in your life as a coach, volunteer, supporter or alumna? Share your story with us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured!