Grantee Spotlight

At Girls on the Run, we envision a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams.

Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program for girls in 3rd through 8th grade. 

During the program, girls gain a higher sense of self-esteem and confidence through learning intentional life skills, physical and mental health education and mentoring relationships taught with the 10-week Girls on the Run curriculum. At the end of the season, girls put all of their newfound strength and knowledge complete a celebratory, non-competitive 5K race.

Girls on the Run takes place over the course of two season – Fall and Spring – in elementary schools, middle schools, and community centers across 17 counties in the Kansas City metro area. Girls participate in a team setting twice a week for an hour and a half. Each practice is facilitated by trained, volunteer coaches and revolves around a new lesson focused on positive emotional, social, mental, and physical development. Over the course of the season, girls will develop and improve competence, learn to love who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and oneself with care, create positive connections with peers and adults, and make a meaningful contribution to their community. The curriculum is divided into three parts: girls learn to recognize their personal strengths, navigate relationships and a team environment and understand their individual and collective roles in their community. Girls learn each lesson through their own perspective by exploring and discussing their own beliefs and experiences pertaining to the challenges girls face at their age.

Running games and physical activity are woven into each lesson to help girls develop an appreciation for fitness and healthy habits. Each practice brings a new walking or running activity designed to give girls a way to actively learn the day’s lesson at their own level and pace. Running is incorporated to teach girls how to set goals and build off their accomplishments – ultimately giving girls the confidence and capability to complete a 5K. The physical activity component is also meant to give girls a healthy outlet they can turn to in times of stress or frustration. Completing a 5K gives the girls a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.

In 2019, Girls on the Run served more than 4,500 girls in the Kansas City metro area. Evaluations and surveys show 97% of participants said they learned critical life skills as a result of the program. Notably, girls in the Kansas City area said the program inspired them to be more physically active, feel better about themselves, and get along better with others. Of parents surveyed, 99% said their daughter was positively impacted by Girls on the Run and would enroll their girl in the program again.


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