How to Get Involved with Girls on the Run
YWCA Tulsa’s Girls On the Run program wants girls to run the world. Though the program is still fairly new, it has served over 300 girls in the Tulsa area in its three years. Girls On the Run (GOTR) is a 10-week afterschool program offered in the spring and fall to girls in third through eighth grades and is dedicated to creating a world where every girl knows of her limitless potential.
Some grim statistics show that girls in Tulsa are especially in need of this program. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Oklahoma has the fifth highest teen pregnancy rate in the country, nearly 20 percent of girls in Tulsa County never graduate high school, and only one in 10 complete college. The statistics only get worse for those girls living below the poverty line. Girls On the Run teaches the girls dynamic life skills that build confidence. Through special programming, GOTR helps them develop important social, psychological and physical skills that encourage lifelong health and fitness.
The volunteers and staff cover information on bullying, nutrition, goal-setting, and many other topics that address a girl’s personal integrity in the wider culture.
Jasmine, an eighth grader in the program says, “My favorite lesson was about us learning to love our bodies.” Building a foundation of confidence and self esteem in the participants is an important part of GOTR.
Another important part of the program is the relationships and friendships the girls build with each other. Fabiola, a fifth grader, said her favorite lesson was about cooperation because it teaches girls to respect one another. Joseline, a third grader, explains, “At Girls On the Run I learned how to be a wonderful friend and how to treat others.”
Organizers surveyed the girls and found that the program had a positive impact on their lives. At the conclusion of the fall 2014 session of Girls On the Run, nine out of 10 girls reported being happier with their body size, 97 percent of girls said they were proud of themselves, while the number of girls that could report good things about themselves jumped from just 32 percent before the program to 88 percent after the program.
This kind of transformation would be impossible without the help of volunteers who lead the sessions and mentor the girls. The program is growing, and GOTR is currently seeking more volunteers. For information about volunteering, visit www.ywcatulsa.org.
Another way to support the program is by taking part in the first annual Girls On the Run 5K event. Enter as a team or an individual to help raise money to help support and expand the program for young girls in the community. Or just attend the event and watch as the girls celebrate completing the spring session – and themselves — by crossing the finish line of their first 5K.