Women’s History Month is a fitting time to recognize organizations dedicated to empowering women. And not only adult women—but also young girls who will grow up to be the next generation of female leaders. MJ’s Charity of the Month Spotlight for March features Girls on the Run: a nonprofit with a mission to “create a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.”
We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
Girls on the Run aims to reach girls at a critical stage in their life to strengthen their confidence at a time when society starts to tell them what they can’t do. The mission highlights the important connection between physical and emotional health and addresses girls’ holistic wellbeing at a time when she needs it most.
The need to inspire young girls is important now more than ever. Outdated gender stereotypes and societal pressures are presented to girls at such a young age, which is why Girls on the Run is committed to instilling confidence, care and compassion for self and for others.
Through after school programs and camps, Girls on the Run engages girls in the school range of 3rd to 8th grade. Programming is available for middle-school girls and includes interactive camps for 3rd to 5th grade girls. These programs are designed to inspire young girls to embrace their unique gifts and abilities while allowing them to build relationship skills.
Girls on the Run creatively utilizes physical activity to teach valuable life skills that can be used in every context of a girl’s life—at school, with friends and at home. The organization relies on a research-based curriculum to help young girls understand themselves, value relationships and teamwork and recognize how they can influence the world.
Program lessons focus on building social, emotional and physical skills while encouraging lifelong healthy habits. At the end of each program season, the girls participate in a fun, non-competitive 5K—which increases their confidence and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
The efforts of Girls on the Run has made an impact on over 2 million girls:
- 97% of girls say they learned critical life skills, including conflict resolution, helping others or making intentional decisions
- 85% of girls improved in confidence, caring, competence, character development and connection to others
- 40% increase in physical activity level among girls who were the least active at the start of the season
Evidence also shows Girls on the Run makes a stronger impact than both organized sports and physical education in teaching life skills that benefit girls at home, at school and with their friends.
The mission of Girls on the Run aligns with MJ’s commitment to empowering women and holistic wellbeing. At MJ, we believe the integration of physical, emotional and relational health is critical for holistic wellbeing. As we aim to live our Purpose through our Core Values, we encourage you to find a way to inspire young girls in a fun and meaningful way by getting involved with this wonderful organization:
- Volunteer: Girls on the Run’s local councils have many ways for individuals and groups to support girls near you. Volunteer for a one-day event or consider sponsoring a team
- Become a coach: you can sign up to coach a team and help be a part of building their confidence and skills
- Connect locally: there are over 175 councils nationwide. Find one near you to get involved in your local community
- Find a 5K: find out how you can help at a local 5K – from coordinating a cheer team to monitoring a water station, there are plenty of opportunities to help out
- Support: you can give directly, raise funds for the organization and even shop give backs to support Girls on the Run
This Women’s History Month, consider how you can empower women and girls of all ages. Visit the Girls on the Run website to learn more.