Girls on the Run is a national nonprofit transformational learning program for girls in third through eighth grades. The local program started in 2009 and now reaches more than 400 girls and their families.
There are 30 programs throughout Stark County with the same mission — to educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self respect and healthy living.
“We teach life skills through dynamic, conversation-based lessons and running games,” said Patty Lovell, director of the Stark County Girls on the Run Council. “The goal of the program is to unleash confidence through accomplishment while establishing a lifetime appreciation of health and fitness.”
Programs begin in March and culminate with the GOTR 5K Run/Walk — for women only. This year’s event will be June 1 at Walsh University.
All women are invited to participate and cheer on the girls as they take part in their first 5K at the event. More than 1,100 women participated last year and the local organization is anticipating as many as 1,500 runners and walkers for this year’s race.
“Girls on the Run is the most amazing youth program I’ve worked with,” said Amy Shock, a coach and parent. “In just 10 weeks, I’ve seen girls go from self-conscious and quiet to outspoken and proud to be their unique selves. I’ve also seen girls go from being supercompetitive and judgmental to being team cheerleaders, ready and willing to drop her pace to support team members who are having a bad day.”
ABOUT GIRLS ON THE RUN
WHO: Girls on the Run of Stark County
WHAT: A national nonprofit transformational learning program for girls in third through eighth grades.
BOARD MEMBERS: John Sutton, chairman; Kellie Johnson, vice chairman; Eldon Jones, treasurer; Amy Shock, secretary; Lori Marmon, Danielle Wirick and Krystal Tolin.
PROCEEDS: Participants in the program receive 20 lessons, a program T-shirt, water bottle, snacks after each session, plus registration, a goodie bag and finisher’s medal for the 5K. Cost is $125 per girl. Proceeds from the 5K and other fundraising events go toward financial assistance for those girls who may not be able to afford the program. Participants are not turned away due to finances. Girls on the Run gave $15,000 in scholarships last year.
DONATIONS: Checks may be made payable to GOTR of Stark County and mailed to Patty Lovell, 1013 27th St. NE, Canton, OH 44714.