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Empowering Strides Using Girls on the Run Lessons

Not only is Cate one of Girls on the Run Bay Area's great Social Media Interns, Cate also spent time as a Coach and tells us how coaching and the lessons she taught (and learnt) have helped her navigate her first semester as a student athlete at Stanford. Please read alolng to learn more about the powerful impact the Girls on the Run curriculum has and how it empowers us not as young girls, but throughout adulthood! 

Why You Should Sign Up for Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run Bay Area (GOTRBA) was featured on the Family Radio Public Affairs program. Executive director Catherine Muriel discussed the impact of the program with Carmen Shanks. 

“We have a program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident,” said Muriel. “Every girl, no matter her activity level, her ethnicity, her race, her economic status, benefits from our program.”

Muriel builds on this statement by talking about the funding available to make this accessibility possible. “Over 70% of our participants receive scholarship funding, and if they don't have a good... pair of running shoes, we also provide them a new pair.”

GOTRBA is simply unlike any other after school activity. “There's no program that integrates both the unique combination of the evidence based curriculum and the physical activity” said Muriel when describing the unique way Girls on the Run structures their practices to integrate life lessons with engaging exercises.

Muriel then takes us through a typical GOTRBA practice where gratitude is the lesson of the week. “We start off by doing some exercises so they can run off some steam. Then we have this circle time where we teach them about gratitude. And then the curriculum integrates an exercise with that lesson, and they do their goal setting for their laps and start building up to that 5K.”

Gratitude is not the only skill girls learn in our program. Lessons on how to choose a healthy friend, integrate positive self-talk into your life, and activate your star power are all included in the 8-10 week season.

The program culminates in a community impact project where “the team identifies a community need and learns how to address it.” Muriel elaborates on the impacts of this part of the curriculum: “they learn to compromise because each girl puts out what they want to do and so they vote and they have to choose one topic.” Learning how to compromise and being able to give back to their community are two benefits of this end-of-season project – plus, it's fun! Girls can design cards for seniors, write letters to firefighters, or make blankets for animals – tapping into their creative side.

The season finishes with a flourish at the end-of-season 5K, where the girls show off their
fitness skills as they complete a full 5K with their friends, family, and all of the GOTRBA teams.

Registration for this one-of-a-kind program is open now! Use the link to sign up for our spring season:

Why Everyone Should Sign Up To Be A Running Buddy

Our 5K is fast approaching, and you have a unique opportunity to be a part of this experience by signing up to be a running buddy for one of the amazing girls in our program! I reached out to Susan Hill, a GOTR coach currently at Memorial Park in San Ramon, and she agreed to share her running buddy experience with us:

Cate: Why did you decide to become a running buddy?

Susan: While working at UPS, I was introduced to Girls on the Run. GOTR offered a volunteer
opportunity as a running buddy. I read about the program, was running at the time, and
determined it was a great way to give back to the community.

Cate: What was your experience like?

Susan: I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know the girls and running with them in Golden Gate
Park. I was amazed with the determination of so many young people to run that day.

Cate: What advice would you give for people who may be hesitant to sign up?

Susan: My advice is simple, sign up! It is not a race, but a run. Regardless of your running
ability, the girls are wonderful inspiration for all. So much so, when I found out about a coaching opportunity, I signed up for that too!

Susan said it best – we encourage you to sign up to be a running buddy so every girl can have someone cheering them on as they make their way to the finish line! Click the link below to register:

Youth Empowerment in Montana: Climate Change Advocacy

Young climate change advocates in Montana between the ages of five and 22 sued the state government over policies that violated their right to a healthy environment in 2020. Three years later, their case was heard in court, and this week, the judge ruled that state agencies must take into account the effects of greenhouse gas emissions when evaluating energy projects. 

According to to an interview with Inside Climate News, Michael Gerrard, founder of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, stated that this ruling is “the strongest decision on climate change ever issued by any court.” The most promising part? Young activists sparked this decisive ruling.

Judge Kathy Seely, who ruled on this case, wrote of the position of the plaintiffs that they have “proven that as children and youth, they are disproportionately harmed by fossil fuel pollution and climate impacts.” The burden of climate change will fall on the youth of our country, and it is important that we listen to these voices. 

Activists are empowered by this decision, hoping that more rulings like this follow suit. According to Inside Climate News, “Most youth-led cases related to climate change have run into major hurdles in the U.S…with at least 14 youth-led lawsuits being dismissed by judges.” The Montana ruling sets a precedent that youth-led cases have merit and should be heard, and can result in real change.

Learn more about the decisions here: 


Overcoming My Shyness

I was an extremely shy kid growing up, to say the least. Being the first generation born in the US, I grew up only speaking Russian at home. I started kindergarten only knowing some basic English words but felt like it was hard to keep up with others. I felt different for having a different background and did not feel as American as the rest of my classmates. It made me feel like I was incapable to fit in, which translated into my behavior of my next crucial years. It was hard for me to start a conversation and show my personality outside of being home. I craved comfort, connection, and friendship more than anything, but found it hard to do so.

However, joining extracurricular and physical activities has helped me find the inner confidence that I needed to fulfill my desire for a sense of belonging. Throughout middle school, I participated in sports such as basketball, volleyball, and dance. Outside of school, I participated in community theater productions, helping me find my voice and gain confidence through performing. In Highschool, I tried out for the cheer team using my dance background and found my calling as I became an active cheerleader for all 4 years. Performing in front of the whole school and being a member of such a spirited team of strong girls has transformed me into being more comfortable being myself, extroverted, and willing to engage in leadership.

Participating in these wonderful activities have allowed me to create the close-knit bonds I always wanted. I was able to feel healthy, supported, and felt empowered about being bilingual and getting to experience two cultures at the same time. Today, I feel confident in who I am and actively support girls joining a community they can belong to and be themselves, such as Girls On The Run!

US Surgeon General Acknowledges GOTR in Report

In May 2023, a report titled “Physical Activity: An Untapped Resource to Address
Our Nation’s Mental Health Crisis Among Children and Adolescents”, was jointly
published by the Office of the U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy and the U.S. Public
Health Service. This report highlights the strong link between the physical and mental
well-being of young people in our country. It states, “Physical activity is a critical but
often overlooked tool to support both the physical and mental health of children and
adolescents aged 6-17 years”(Murthy 1).

Collaborations between public health experts and organizations that directly engage with youth, such as schools, community centers, and churches are proven to be one of the most effective ways to enhance young people's opportunities for meaningful physical activity. Many of these partnerships aim to create a higher level of accessibility to physical exercise, during and outside school hours.

Recognized as a commendable initiative by the nation's foremost health authority, Girls on the Run was cited as a premier program dedicated to eliminating obstacles for disadvantaged groups of youth seeking important physical engagement.

Murthy highlights, “girls who were the least active when they started the program
increased their overall physical activity by >40%, from completing ≥60 minutes of
physical activity 3.0 days per week prior to participation to 4.4 days per week after
participation”(Murthy 3). These effects were proven to be long-lasting and sustainable.
“Physical Activity: An Untapped Resource to Address Our Nation’s Mental Health Crisis
Among Children and Adolescents”, emphasized how Girls on the Run effectively boosted participants' overall physical activity levels and nurtured essential life skills,
such as conflict resolution, self-esteem, as well as mindful decision-making. The impact
of the program on young girls was notable as, “97% of girls said that they learned
critical life skills, including resolving conflict, helping others, or making intentional
decisions, and 85% reported improvements in confidence, caring, competence,
character development, or connection to others” (Murthy 3).

Girls on the Run is an embodiment of the power that lies in connecting physical
health to mental health. Our program builds bolder, braver, and better-equipped girls.