Girls on the Run Changes Lives — Here’s How
Amanda Klare is an elementary school teacher and Girls on the Run coach at Beechwood Elementary in Ft. Mitchell, Kentucky.
In May 2008, I was walking through the Flying Pig Marathon Expo when I stumbled across a booth for Girls on the Run. I stopped and checked out what this program was about. After a conversation with the energetic director, I knew that this was something that Beechwood needed to offer for our girls.
Here we are more than a decade later, and Beechwood has had 12 different seasons during which we have been able to empower young ladies through this character-building program. Each season, we can take 15 girls and meet with them twice a week for a fun, engaging lesson that promotes a healthy lifestyle as they train for a 5K. As the head coach, I have seen firsthand how this program helps girls build confidence in their abilities, aids them in creating and building relationships, and assists them in finding ways to give back to society.
Every season, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by other volunteer coaches who are there to motivate our girls, to build their endurance as runners and help mold them into strong young ladies. These coaching roles have been filled by school counselors, principals, teachers and parents. Our girls are blessed to have these role models. Over the years, we have had coaches who are in their twenties and some who are in their fifties; some coaches are natural runners and others are self-proclaimed “fast walkers.” All of the coaches are there as cheerleaders for our girls.
One of my favorite parts about Girls on the Run is that it focuses on “paying it forward.” The girls get to select an organization that they would like to help. Some of the ways they gave back include: giving the janitors an afternoon “off” as they help them clean, organizing a toy drive for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, and collecting dog treats and toys for the local animal shelter.
Just last spring, I was at Kroger when one of the girls I coached from my first season got my attention as she was bagging my groceries. She said, “Do you remember me?” How could I forget Alex? She was a girl who had to show a lot of perseverance to cross the finish line at our practice 5K. All of her teammates running beside her and cheering for her on her last few laps around the track is something I will never forget. Alex went on to say, “You know I’m a senior this year? After all these years I still think that completing that 5K was one of my best accomplishments. It taught me that I should never give up.”
This is what it’s all about. Girls on the Run has helped our girls find their inner beauty and their confidence. We are shaping them into leaders and learners both in and out of the classroom. They will go on to realize that they can do anything and make this world more awesome in the process.
You can make an impact on girls’ lives by volunteering as a coach for Girls on the Run. Learn more by clicking here!