25 Years of Impact

Today we celebrate 25 years of impact. On this day, 25 years ago, 13 incredible girls took a chance on a new afterschool program that promised to be meaningful and lots of fun. We caught up with one of the original GOTR girls, Kennedy, to ask about her experience and what she remembers from that day

Girls on the Run girls at practice, 25 years ago.

Girls on the Run girls at practice.

She shared, “from the first practice, I could tell it was going to be something special. We immediately started discussing our emotions and I realized it was bigger than just running. The skills I learned that year stuck with me through challenging times throughout my school years into adulthood. I learned to trust myself and my abilities during a time in my life when I was unsure. I gained a foundation of self-confidence that propelled me into being the strong woman I am today.”

Every girl has a different experience with Girls on the Run. We love hearing stories of the impact the program has made in the lives of over 2 million girls that joined since that first season. Beth, another GOTR alumna from 2000 shared:

“Because of Girls on the Run, I learned to cultivate an inner strength and established my sense of self.”

It’s these collective stories that paint a picture of immeasurable strength and confidence from girls of all walks of life. Songia, a 2009 participant reflected back on how Girls on the Run changed her outlook:

Girls on the Run founder, Molly Barker, with participants at one of the first GOTR practices. The start to 25 years of impact.

Girls on the Run founder, Molly Barker, with participants.

“I didn’t have a lot of friends. I was perceived as different. I was very introverted and quiet. Girls on the Run allowed me to socialize and realize it was OK to be different. In meeting other girls, it provided a sense of security and safety. And I realized it was OK to be different and find girls who supported and encouraged my differences. I was able to come out of my introverted shell and share parts of myself that I was ashamed of. I realized that those parts were just as beautiful and I should share them with the world.”

For 25 years, Girls on the Run has given girls a place where they belong. A place where empathy, acceptance and self-reflection are explored and promoted. A built-in community where girls realize that individual differences are to be celebrated and the ties that bind us as humans are strong and powerful.

We can’t look forward without looking back. Looking back with gratitude for those 13 girls who took a chance on a new program and the progress we’ve made ever since. Today, we celebrate all GOTR girls who invested in themselves and their futures. We celebrate all the dedicated coaches who have been committed to building confidence and courage in girls. We celebrate every supporter who agrees that girls deserve better. We celebrate our collective impact as we look to the next 25 years with drive, inspiration and gratitude.

We’d love to hear your story about how Girls on the Run has impacted your life!