Below are Girls on the Run Delaware Parent and Coach testimonials.
“One of our 6th grade participants, Josie, shared how Girls on the Run makes her feel about herself, “Girls on the Run could make any girl fearless, because when you’re surrounded by people you trust, respect, and care for, nothing can hold you back from being the beautiful person you have grown to be.” She continued, “When you see your inner beauty, everyone else does. That’s what Girls on the Run tries to show girls at a young age, so we’ll keep that knowledge forever.”
“The following is a personal story from a parent whose child participated in Girls on the Run Delaware. It truly demonstrates the impact Girls on the Run is having on the girls and families in Delaware.
“Like all parents, I love my daughters very, very much and they are such a blessing to our lives. Early on we knew that our oldest daughter was a worrier and that fact became even more apparent in 2nd grade when she still could not read at a kindergarten level. After significant testing and research, doctors and teachers determined Katherine was suffering from anxiety. When presented with a new task her first response was “I will never be able to do this, I cannot do this” and it would take Herculean efforts to convince her otherwise. It may sound a bit farfetched, but this prevented her from reading, building relationships with friends and trying just about anything new. Her anxiety would also manifest itself into physical ailments as well.
Needless to say, after much tutoring and efforts by a village of people that I will always be grateful for, we were able to get Katherine to read by third grade. However, this solved one concern – we still needed to constantly focus on Katherine’s self-esteem, or lack thereof. The only way I can explain this is when most people walk into a room, they are excited about meeting new people and having new experiences. When Katherine used to walk into the room, her mind would be filled with, “no one is going to like me, everyone is going to hate me.” It was her internal tape recording at the time. Until Girls on the Run….
In the winter of 3rd grade, we received a flyer about the spring session of GOTR. Girls on the Run is a life-changing, experiential learning program for girls age eight to thirteen years old. The program combines training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development. As you can imagine, after seeing this, I signed Katherine up immediately.
During the 10-week program, the girls met twice a week to talk about setting goals, how to believe in yourself, habits for healthy living, and would begin to practice for the run, etc. I would always ask Katherine how things went after each of their meetings and she always said she enjoyed it. Towards the end of the season, Katherine’s coach sent home a note letting us know that they were going to have their practice 5K and parents could come out and cheer on the girls.
I left work early one Monday in May to cheer Katherine on…. just to paint the picture, it was 93 degrees out and they ran 12 laps around the parking lot at school which equated to the length of a 5k. I can still remember how hot it was. Around the 7th lap, I saw my daughter limping towards me with blood dripping down her leg. She had tripped and skinned her knee pretty badly. I thought to myself, ” this is it … we are done … I will get her cleaned up and will take her for ice cream so she won’t feel badly.” We went in the school and cleaned up her knee but it was a fairly deep cut and still bleeding. I told Katherine that we were going to leave and I would take her for ice cream. I will never, ever forget what my 8 year old said next because for us it was life-changing—–“Mommy, I can’t leave, I set a goal that I would finish this 5k and I am going to finish this practice run.” It may not seem like a lot, but to me it was the first time that I saw my daughter believe in herself—I will never forget that moment as long as I live.
Needless to say, with a painful skinned knee, she ran the remaining 5 laps and finished with a huge, unbelievable smile. Even writing this email, it is hard for me to believe how much she has changed and grown since then!!! As her mom, I am truly convinced that Katherine turned the corner and began believing in herself because of her experience with Girls on the Run!! No matter how much I try, it is a gift that I will never be able to pay back!”
A letter from a parent to the Girls on the Run Delaware staff:
“Thank you so much for your help. I so appreciate your understanding and willingness to act beyond the call of duty.
What a nice testament to this program that there is such demand for it.
Having re-discovered running when I turned 40, I can’t imagine how much dimmer life would be without this great habit.
I hope that more and more girls are able to grow a love for the outdoors and running, and each other, through GOTR.
Thanks to you and the team there for all the work you put into this. Your heart truly shows!”
“I wanted to share my little story of why I’m such a HUGE fan of GOTR - My daughter, Ava, is having a ball with GOTR!!! This will be her second 5K. She was born with low muscle tone and did not walk till she was ~2yr old. We’ve had her in physical therapy since she was 12mos, on and off, also involved with swimming, basketball, etc… to help increase her overall muscle strength, in her core and legs. GOTR has helped Ava tremendously with her overall physical strength & self-confidence! Her transformation has made me a firm believer in this program – ALL Girls should have the opportunity to participate – it’s amazing! Thank you for all the work you guys do in putting a great program together!”
Robin Wolley, Parent
“East Side has 13 girls who will complete the Girls on the Run season at the 5k. For the majority of our girls this was their first organized athletic team experience. The first few weeks, they definitely did not operate like a team; it was every girl for herself, unwilling to open up, and easily discouraged by the daunting task of running. The team ranged in age from 3rd grade to 7th grade and age was definitely an issue for our girls. Cliques formed in the first week, and our lone 3rd grader was ready to quit. But then the lessons started to take hold, the girls were sharing their experiences and finding more and more common ground. The level of sharing and support that happened during the lesson time was amazing. Then when they hit the track, it wasn’t about who their friends were, it was about the run. Running partners happened based upon ability, not friendship. At our practice 5k a few weeks ago, the girls cheered for everyone. After they finished their run, they ran back to encourage their teammates to finish and they acted like a team. The 3rd grader that was ready to quit at the beginning of the season was helping to lead the pack with a teammate in the middle school. I personally could not be more proud of the girls and everything they have done this season. After the practice 5k one of our 5th graders said “That was the hardest, longest, but best thing ever! I can’t wait to run it with 500 other girls!” As a coach, I can not wait to see it either!”
External Programs Manager
“When we were talking about emotions last week, TWO girls shared that their dads were either in prison or had been in prison. We were shocked! We had 3 guest coaches with us that day, including our principal, and everyone realized just how powerful it was. Then, at the end of the day, she was celebrated by her teammates because “she was so brave and shared something that is really hard”.
Wendy Turner, Coach
“Kudos to a job well done. I have to say, and maybe it is just because I too am a runner, but Saturday was a true highlight in my life. It was a great experience to run with Allison and see all of her friends and their parents taking part. I wanted to share a story – that will let you know the importance of what you are doing (which I’m sure you already know…so just humor me!): I asked Allison if she’d like to participate in swim team this year (she never has before). She said “Mom, I can’t swim for long periods of time you know that. And I’ve never done it before.” She paused, “but then I never thought I could run 3 miles either!” It made my day!!! Thanks for all of your work with our girls.”
“We wanted to say THANK YOU for allowing Pleasantville to participate in GOTR this year! Thank you for your organization, time and support throughout the season! You were both always available to help us out as new coaches! Most of all, thank you for getting our team scholarships and sneakers this year. It really made a difference to this group of girls!
Saturday was INSPIRING! It was such a fantastic day for the girls. Seeing how proud they were of themselves was PRICELESS! It made us proud to be Girls On The Run! One mother said to me, “Jhanae has already told me about a race in Middletown that she wants to sign up for!” I thought it was great to see that she wanted to take it further and make running a part of her life. Stephanie was making a video to say goodbye to our Principal who is going to another school next year. Jhanae was one of the students on the video and she said, “I’m going to miss Mr. Leida next year and I want to thank him for allowing us to be a part of Girls On The Run. I am grateful to be a Girl On The Run because it makes me fearless!” I was blown away by that statement when she showed me the video clip! Another testament to the program was from Ayanna’s 5th grade teacher who showed me her last project about her fondest memory from school. She said, “My fondest memory of school is Girls On The Run because it made me feel good about myself.”
“We wanted to share some more quotes with you from the lesson about “reflecting on what you are grateful for”. “I am grateful for Ms. Turner telling me to keep going when I stopped running,” Katelyn
“I am grateful for Ms. Fox, Ms. Turner, Ms. Millman and Ms. McVey taking their free time to spend with us after school,” Xioa Lee. “I am grateful for all the coaches taking the time to teach us how to act like ladies,” Kiyaraa
Thank you again for allowing Pleasantville to participate! We are really enjoying the program! ”
GOTR Coaches, Pleasantville
I just wanted to reiterate how much I appreciate the full scholarship for our school. GOTR has been soooo generous to the girls at Lewis over the 5 or more years we have participated in GOTR. Your constant effort to provide access for all girls to the wonders of the GOTR curriculum is awesome. Yesterday, hearing Melissa talk about how the number of full scholarship teams has expanded and the many ways you are always trying to meet this financial need really brought a tears to my eye….I have thought about it often but just wanted to tell you that I think YOU ARE SUCH AN AMAZING ORGANIZATION TO WORK WITH! “