Girls on the Run Roanoke Valley is a non-profi t organization that inspires third through eighth-grade girls to recognize their inner strength, celebrates what makes them unique and teaches them life skills.
Throughout each ten-week program, usually during the spring and fall, girls develop essential skills to help them navigate their worlds and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fi tness. “In a nutshell, Girls on the Run (GOTR) inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confi dent using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running,” Athena Spencer, GOTR Council Director, said. “It is my goal to continue to grow the program by off ering it to more schools. I also want to make sure that we are delivering a quality program for the girls, so they get the most benefits.
“ The first Girls on the Run 5k celebration took place at Green Hill Park in December 2015. Last Saturday morning, Girls on the Run participants partook in the most recent 5K celebration with a running buddy to commemorate their fall accomplishments. “Th e girls were supported and celebrated by their families, coaches and community volunteers. It was truly an amazing event,” Girls on the Run Board Member Melissa Blau said. “We take a holistic approach to health and well-being. We focus on physical and emotional health, the importance of positive social connections and the importance of having fun and not taking things too seriously.”
As a Girls on the Run Head Coach, Melanie Newton-Smith is responsible for organizing and supervising weekly lessons, serving as a role model and communicating with parents and guardians throughout the season. “I would love to see more elementary, and middle school girls have an opportunity to participate in this lifechanging program,” Newton-Smith said. “Th e girls are always very excited to activate their star power and reach a goal they set for themselves.” Th ere is a reason why instilling confi dence in young girls is essential. As Melissa explains it, “It is hard to describe just how magical Saturday was, but I was inspired as I watched this whole group of young people accomplish a goal they had been working toward diligently for ten weeks.” Melanie has a message for anyone interested in learning more about Girls on the Run Roanoke Valley. “I recommend people who want to start a new site location or learn more information about us to simply visit our girlsontherunroanokevalley.org website,” she said.