Girls on the Run Program thriving; runners prepare for their annual Spring 5K!

Sam Imber, Staff Writer

Every Tuesday and Thursday, you may wonder why you see so many elementary and middle school girls running in circles around a field. That’s because Girls on the Run (GOTR) is gearing up for their annual spring 5K race on Friday, May 12!

In this incredible program, which meets after school, youngster get to run with their peers and learn valuable lessons along the way, such as self confidence, healthy friendships, healthy eating habits, valuable life skills, kindness, self respect, and so much more!

But what exactly is Girls on the Run, and where did it come from?

Founded in 1996, Girls on the Run began with only 13 girls in Charlotte, NC. Today, this amazing program can be found in over 200 councils in every state in the United States, including Washington D.C. It is a non profit organization featured in numerous media outlets, including some as popular as ABC News! Through their highly beneficial and easy to comprehend lessons, the program aims to encourage girls to chase their dreams despite any obstacle, and pushes them to access their full potential in any endeavor they pursue.

Stroudsburg is one of many school districts found in the Poconos Council, run by Mrs. Dolores Everett, who has been with Girls on the Run since 2002. Everett, who comes from a fitness background, saw an advertisement for GOTR and was instantly hooked. Now she is in charge of Monroe, Pike, Lackawanna, and Northampton Counties, for a total of 33 locations. Ever since its beginning, Everett has loved the program and has helped it grow and expand.

Girls on the Run helps build more confident girls, and more girls who are willing to do other sports and activities, said Everett as she discussed the positive impacts that this program has on the community. They’re learning to be more positive and how to treat each other better. The program also helps fight against bullying and peer pressure, and teaches girls how to respond to and cope with challenging situations.

Its a lot more than just going for a run, said Everett

However, a program this vast can’t operate without the help of many amazing coaches and junior volunteer coaches. Junior Dana Myles, and freshman Madison Imber are just a few of the volunteers that help make this program a success season after season.

Girls on the Run is an unforgettable experience, both as a volunteer coach and a former participant, said Imber. I highly recommend volunteering or telling your younger sisters to join. They will not regret it.

I was a girl on the run from third to sixth grade, and jumped at the chance to coach, said Myles, who has coached GOTR for three consecutive seasons. The program motivates young girls to be themselves and express themselves while staying in shape.

So how can you get involved with Girls on the Run?

GOTR has a place for anyone at any time! Becoming a volunteer coach is extremely rewarding and it’s very easy to sign up! Complete the online application, be sure you can make the two hour time commitment each week, and be ready to have lots of fun!

For someone who doesn’t have the time to be a coach, you can still become a running buddy for their bi-annual 5K race at the end of each season. You could also become a Solemate, and raise money for Girls on the Run while you train for an athletic event of your choice. Solemates are critical in providing councils with the funds necessary for running the GOTR program.

Absolutely no time in your schedule? Girls on the Run accepts donations year round! You can also encourage your local business to partner with GOTR to support their goal of encouraging young girls to chase their dreams and overcome any obstacle.

Be sure to come out and support the girls this Friday at 6 p.m. at the East Stroudsburg South High School as they show the community all the hard work they’ve accomplished this spring!

Please check out the photo gallery of the runners.