Today at Pro Vita, we hosted an event called Get Fit For Life. We had an amazing turnout and took donations for Girls on the Run. So I thought now would be a great time to really let you know what they're all about! 

 

Lets start with the basics: what is Girls on the Run?

The mission of Girls on the Run is to inspire girls to be joyful healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. Running is our teaching tool, but we are more than just a "running program." An after school program for 3rd through 8th grades, Girls on the Run not only prepares its participants to complete a 5k, it also uses a fun, 12-week curriculum to teach them how to deal with challenges such as peer pressure, bullying, self-esteem and more. One girl put it this way "At Girls on the Run, I learned to be the boss of my own brain."

 

Walk us through one of the 24 lessons - what’s involved and how do you engage the girls?

Meeting twice a week in small teams of 8-15 girls, we teach life skills through fun, engaging lessons that celebrate the joy of movement. The 24-lesson curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run coaches and include three parts: understanding ourselves, valuing relationships and teamwork and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large. Each lesson centers on a theme that is taught through a combination of discussion, running/games and reflection.  

 

What does it take to become a GOTR certified coach?

We have 3 types of coaches - Head Coach, Assistant Coach and Jr. Coach. Head Coaches must be female, at least 21 years old and CPR/First-Aid Certified. They also must be available to attend all practices, twice a week for 12 weeks. Assistant Coaches and Jr. Coaches must be able to attend at least one practice a week. Assistant Coaches are 18 and older and Jr. Coaches are 16 and older. All coaches must complete a background check and attend a Coaches training provided by our staff. The next training is on August 9th. You can register here: http://bit.ly/1iD8wl0

 

Tell us about some of the community service projects that GOTR has been a part of here in Nashville.

Each season our girls complete a service project of their choosing. They have given homemade toys to animal shelters, participated in park and community clean ups, planted trees and written thank you letters to service staff at their schools. The year of the Boston Marathon Bombing they wrote thank you letters to the doctors who helped the victims and get well cards to some of the injured runners.

 

Why running instead of dancing or some other form of activity?

GOTR was founded by Molly Barker, an avid runner, who amidst person struggles, found that running empowered her to overcome many of the challenges in her life. Running was more than just physical activity - it was inner strength, accomplishment, goal setting, achievement and fun. She wanted to create an opportunity for girls where they could learn these same life lessons and running was the vehicle used to teach those lessons.

 

What schools in Nashville participate in GOTR?

Our roster of sites for the upcoming Fall Season is changing daily. We currently have 10 sites, and are expecting several more. Visit http://bit.ly/1ktp2Qe to keep track of our sites as we add them for Fall.

 

What if I don’t have any kids - how can I participate in GOTR?

There are lots of ways to get involved with GOTR. You can serve as a Coach or a Running Buddy if you want to interact with our girls. We also host a number of cheer stations and water stops at area races throughout the year. Our next one is the Heroes 6k on September 13.  If you want to support us in other ways, you can run in our 5k that takes place every year in May or you can attend Evening of Gratitude, our supporter appreciation banquet, on November 6th at Rocketown. We also have committees that you can serve on to support the work of GOTR. Visit http://bit.ly/1k5HpNg for more information.

 

What if I DO have kids but GOTR isn’t at my school but I want my kids to participate?

Currently we serve elementary and middle schools in Davidson, Williamson and Sumner counties. We are always looking for new sites. Usually it takes a meeting with the principal or another school leader to get the process started. If you want us at your daughter's school email tiffany.patton@girlsontherun.org and we can walk you through the steps. We also operate sites a community centers. If there is one in your neighborhood we can also work with you to get programs started there.

 

How is GOTR planning to expand in Nashville?

We want to be in as many schools as possible in our current service area. Ultimately we hope to expand our territory to serve other neighboring counties as well. We have received interest from Montgomery, Maury, Rutherford and Wilson counties and would love to expand to those areas in the next few years.