Mary Jo Harroff, acting executive director, joined Girls on the Run in 2008 as a coach and fundraiser when she lived in Chicago. Upon returning to Canton, she immediately volunteered as a coach for girls and quickly became involved with the organization’s growth as a member of the board and now as the acting volunteer executive director. Girls on the Run inspires girls in grades 3 through 8 to recognize their inner strength and celebrate what makes them one of a kind. Trained volunteer coaches lead small teams through Girls on the Run’s research-based curricula over the course of a 10-week program to develop essential skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness. The program culminates with girls positively impacting their communities through a service project and being physically and emotionally prepared to complete a celebratory 5K run/walk event.
What is the book that shocked you the most?
“Forever …” by Judy Blume (224 pages, 1975). I remember hiding it so my mother would not see that I was reading it. I think today, it may even be banned.
What is the last book you read?
“Coal River” by Ellen Marie Wisemen (381 pages, 2015). My parents grew up in coal mining towns in Pennsylvania, so I really had an interest in it. In fact, I passed it on to mom to read next.
What section of the library or bookstore do you visit first?
Cooking section first, then historical fiction. We love to cook. I need pictures; otherwise, how do you know if it comes out right?
Do you have a go-to book for vacations?
Anything historical fiction—especially those WWII stories. I think if I could go back in time, I would live in 1940 London or Paris. Reading those books on vacation takes me to a different time and makes me forget everything around me.
Who is your favorite author and why?
John Sandford. I started reading his prey series in the early ‘90s and have read all of them. I like the adventure and how he wraps both the villain and detective sides to every story. He’s one of the only authors I can’t put down until I am finished. I will stay up past midnight reading his books.
What is next up on your reading list?
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens (368 pages, 2018). My mother-in-law reads a lot, so she gives me a bag a books and I just pull one out of there. This was the one on top, but I hear it’s a good one.
What is your go-to book recommendation?
Ken Follet’s Century Trilogy. It really spanned the century—even up to the 2008 election.
What is the first book you remember reading?
It was a book about wanting to be a nurse. I think I checked it out every week when I was in first grade. Unfortunately, once I became a candy-striper, I realized nursing was not for me.