Girls On The Run Celebrates 10th Anniversary

Feb 5, 2014

Credit Peter Gray/WUIS

Girls On The Run of Central Illinois combines being active with self awareness.  The after school program for girls in 3rd through 8th grades has been in the area for 10 years. 

Jennifer Sublett is Executive Director.  She said the program has now served over 3,400 girls.  

"They're learning all about themselves. They're learning about self esteem," Sublett said.  Community is also a big part of the curriculum.  Participants complete a community service project.

And, they run.

The girls work toward completing a 5-K run at the end of the program.  Sublett adds there's an emphasis on fun.

"We use a lot of running games to reinforce the topic of the day," she said. "If that's something on gossiping or bullying, they'll do some running games and come back and re-discuss it."

A lot of the volunteer coaches are teachers.  They get to interact with the girls in a different environment than the classroom. 

Sublett adds she's been told girls in middle school who go through the program have less disciplinary problems. 

It's part of an international program.  Its founder is Molly Baker.  She will speak this Saturday at a special anniversary event in Springfield.  You can find out more details here.

Proceeds from the event will help support scholarships that allow students from low income families to participate.

"This is a hard time for girls," Sublett said. "They start to be influenced by all these outside influences. What do other people want them to look like?  What does the media tell them they should act like? So it's really teaching them to be their own individual."

Combining those lessons with running toward a goal.

"They see when they cross that finish line, they see that anything is possible," Sublett said.