Participants from Hindley, Royle, and Tokeneke Elementary Schools’ Girls on the Run chapters represented the Darien community at the Jingle Bell Jog 5k event in Greenwich on Sunday, December 8. The 5k event was the culmination of the 10-week Girls on the Run program, whose mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.
As a part of the Girls on the Run Fairfield County association, sponsored by the New Canaan YMCA, the Darien programs featured girls in grades three through five. Girls on the Run is a national 501(c)(3) youth development program which combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. The core curriculum addresses many aspects of girls’ development – their physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. Lessons provide girls with the tools to make positive decisions and to avoid risky adolescent behaviors. The three-part curriculum is taught by certified Girls on the Run volunteer coaches and includes understanding ourselves, valuing teamwork, and understanding how we connect with and shape the world at large. Girls choose and conduct a community service project, and at each session’s conclusion, the girls complete a 5k running event as a group.
Hindley’s volunteer coach, Jessica Anderson, explained, "Coaching these girls has been a fantastic experience. At the end of the race, it was clear how proud they were of themselves. But I think an even bigger accomplishment than the race, was how they came together as a group, and how they all supported each other.” She added, “What I really love about this program is that it gives girls a venue to talk about things they might not otherwise discuss. We talk about what it means to be a good friend, what it means to have self-confidence, and what it means to be healthy both physically and emotionally. These are powerful messages, and I think reaching them at this stage in their lives, before middle school, is truly invaluable.”
Girls on the Run will return to Darien in the spring. To learn more about the program or how to become a volunteer, or how to bring Girls on the Run to your school, visit www.girlsontherunffldcty.com or contact Girls on the Run Fairfield County Council Director, Davie Cedela, at firstname.lastname@example.org.