Girls on the Run helps develop confidence, character

By: Andrea Marvel Last Updated: January 23, 2019

How do you help young girls develop character, confidence, competence and more in just 10 weeks? Girls on the Run has a proven track record of doing just that. Girls on the Run of Northwest Indiana hit the ground running in 2007 with a team of 15 in Highland. In the years that followed, more than 12,000 girls across the region would participate, and 2019 anticipates serving about 2,500 girls.

As a runner, social worker, and the mother of three young girls, Executive Director Jill Schlueter-Kim established the local chapter of the national organization because it fit both her work experience and personal goals. With the help of her staff and hundreds of volunteers, she has grown the non-profit significantly in that time, expanding the organization’s reach across Lake, Porter, La Porte, Jasper, Newton, Pulaski and Starke Counties.

The 10-week program targets girls ages 8 to 13 to improve competence, confidence, caring, character, connection, and contribution. Girls learn life skills like managing emotions, helping others, making intentional decisions, and resolving conflict. These lessons can be used at home, school and with friends. The program is designed to inspire girls to build lives of purpose and to make meaningful contributions to society and community. Girls don’t have to be established runners to join; all fitness levels are welcome.

Each team works together to complete a community service project, and the season concludes with a celebratory 5K event. Girls on the Run is more than just a running program. It gives participants a tangible sense of achievement and a framework for setting and achieving goals throughout their lifetimes.

Girls on the Run teams are headed by volunteer coaches, who complete a National Coach Training Program that prepares them to build relationships with their team, create a positive and inclusive environment, support individual improvement, and deliver the curriculum to lead their entire team to success.

Girls on the Run is the only national, physical activity-based program for girls with compelling evidence of program impact. Through research-based curriculum, trained coaches and a commitment to serve all girls, Girls on the Run is an exemplar physical activity-based, positive youth development program.

Girls on the Run of Northwest Indiana is a 501(c)3 organization, allowing them to provide 65 percent of girls with financial assistance for the program. If you know a young lady who could benefit from the program, would like to volunteer as a coach, or would like to support this great organization, please visit https://www.gotrofnwi.org/.