She has her head in the books in the mornings at Purdue University Northwest and spends her time running in the afternoon with a group of girls from Clark Middle School. Lupita Alvarado, an aspiring teacher, is a Girls on the Run Heart & Sole coach in St. John, Ind. and enjoys being a positive role model.
Alvarado, 21, is an English Education major at Purdue University Northwest. She appreciates the Girls on the Run program and being a coach because she said it teaches girls much more than physical fitness.
“It discusses positive eating habits, exercise, self-esteem, school life, home life, social connections, dreams, passions, decision making, creativity, and so much more,” she said. Alvarado described the program as a safe, non-judgmental environment for girls to talk about their feelings. She enjoys being someone they look up to.
Alvarado began coaching for Girls on the Run at age 17 when her sister, head coach at Warren Elementary in Highland, was looking for more coaches. Girls on the Run is a non-profit organization serving girls in third through eighth grade. It is a 10-week, curriculum-based program that inspires girls to define their future and build their self-image.
Heart & Sole serves sixth through eighth grade girls, focusing on the body, brain, heart, spirit and social connection. She continues to look forward to coaching and connecting with a group of girls each spring and fall.
“I continued coaching because it was so much fun. I’m a future teacher and race day is absolutely a blast! There’s face painting, glitter tattoos, and hair dye,” said Alvarado. She said she loves the one-on-one interaction she gets to have with each girl on her team.
Girls on the Run allows girls to open up and learn about themselves. Coaches like Alvarado help make a positive impact on the young girls lives.
“They [the girls] have so much energy! They break out of their shells and become talkative and are able to communicate their feelings,” she said.
The Girls on the Run season concludes with a celebratory and untimed 5K. Alvarado described the 5K as sensational and a great feeling of accomplishment for the girls and herself.
“I once was about to cross the finish line at the 5K when I saw two girls in front of me looking exhausted as ever. The girls started motivating one another and cheering each other on and they held hands and crossed the finish line together. It was so heartwarming and was the definition of our goal with Girls on the Run,” Alvarado said.
Girls on the Run encourages happiness, empowerment and builds confidence and motivation in each and every girl. Alvarado said each girl sets their goal to cross the 5K finish line - not to be the fastest, but to be able to say they trained, practiced and accomplished something they put their mind to.