Girls on the Run helps students with self-esteem, health and setting goals


Girls in grades three through five have been participating in Girls on the Run at Willow Drive Elementary School. Shakenya Morris and her team of coaches are leading the girls in self-esteem-building activities, exercise and community-service projects. Currently, the girls are training to run their first 5K on Nov. 17 in Columbia.

According to its website, the Girls on the Run curriculum is designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength and inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms.

Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique. The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.

Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age. They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences.

Physical activity is woven into the program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health. At the end of each three-month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5K event. This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum.

Completing the 5K gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.

Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible is possible.