As summer winds down, I remember the moments that have meant the most to me these past few months: spying fireworks from a rooftop hotel the night of Fourth of July in New York City, scrawling seemingly foreign vocabulary words on torn index cards (tedious now, but hopefully worth it when I take the GRE this fall in hopes of achieving my grad school dreams), and a lot of sorting.
Folders, jump ropes, bouncy balls, you name it—I sorted. Earlier this summer, I volunteered my morning with my local council of Girls on the Run, a national 501c3 organization that inspires girls by putting springs in their steps and smiles on their faces. During the fall and spring seasons, girls learn how to be healthy, confident, and friendly (no bullying!) through an experience-based curriculum fueled by running. The summer is reserved for a break in between sessions, so I got to sort coaches’ boxes and learn about the impact my local chapter has made on girls in the area.
I wanted to volunteer with Girls on the Run because of its really cool yet simple approach to educating girls—who knew how far running could take you? Volunteering brought me back to a year prior, when I ran my first-ever road race. It was a 5k that took me through the suburbs surrounding my college. I did not prepare well for this race, having pushed myself entirely on the treadmill throughout the month before the race. Yes, that’s right—I didn’t even run outside! As you can guess, being used to the automatic speeds of the treadmill, I pushed myself too hard too soon during the 5k, so after 3.1 miles and some gargantuan hills, while doubled up in pain from a cramped side by the end, I spurted across the finish line. I collapsed in the grass, coughing and hacking and almost in tears, but I did it. And the proud feeling of accomplishment has stayed with me ever since.
There is something powerful about believing in yourself. Listen to the Girls on the Run vision: “We envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.” Confidence can take you places: across the finish line, through a whimsical but difficult piece at a piano recital, even to a happier state of mind when you stand up for yourself or a friend. And I am so excited that Girls on the Run works hard to instill confidence in girls across the country.
If you are interested in becoming a part of the Girls on the Run movement, consider participating in either the 3rd-5th grade program or the 6th-8th grade program. If you are old enough to mentor, you could become an assistant coach. Visit www.girlsontherun.org to find your local council.
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