Three members of the Burns Middle School staff completed training last summer to be coaches in “Girls on the Run,” a nationwide program that teaches girls ages 8-13 life skills that promote female empowerment.
Youth Services Center coordinator Victoria Self, guidance counselor and social-emotional learning coach Faith Butler, and school nurse Michelle Jones introduced the eight-week program to female students at BMS in September.
Girls on the Run uses a research-based curriculum that focuses on three areas: understanding yourself; valuing relationships and teamwork; and recognizing how we can shape the world at large.
Five BMS students will travel to Louisville today to participate in a 5K run to celebrate their achievements. Josie Ellis, Kayla Wertz, Ailee Beard, Brianna Harris and Autumn Free will join runners from across Kentucky at the event taking place at Mercy Academy.
Girls on the Run emphasizes positive values such as confidence, character, caring, connections, competence and contributions to their communities. According to the official GOTR website, the program “encourages girls of all abilities to recognize their individual strengths and celebrate connections with others. Our tested curriculum blends physical activity with skill development that enables girls to adapt to whatever comes their way.”
Self said GOTR will provide immediate benefits for girls as well as building traits that will last a lifetime — for themselves as well as others.
“This program will help girls identify their strengths, build self-confidence and character that will shape them into positive female role models for the next generation,” she said. “We have already seen growth in areas of self-esteem, conflict resolution and increased levels of physical activity among our members.”
Self said it is especially important for girls to have opportunities such as those provided by GOTR.
“In today’s society, the media, music, magazines etc. make us feel that we, as girls and women, have to look a certain way,” she said. “We see many young girls who don’t feel good about their physical appearance, or don’t feel worthy. Girls on the Run is an all-inclusive program that empowers girls to build self-confidence and character, and reach their full potential.”
Self said she hopes the program will continue to grow at BMS and that other schools will see the positive benefits for girls and create their own chapters.
“We want more girls to be involved and participate, as well as for other schools to see how impactful this program really is,” Self said. “I would encourage all girls to at least try it out. We love seeing girls try something new and we encourage students to get involved in something at their school.”