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On Saturday, April 29, 2017, Girls on the Run of Northeast Florida hosted thousands of Girls on the Run participants, community runners and spectators at its 25th semi-annual celebratory 5k at UNF.
The 5k is an un-timed fun-run for over 800 Girls on the Run participants from almost 60 schools and community sites throughout Northeast Florida. Celebrating with participants were hundreds of volunteer coaches, event volunteers, running buddies, which are community runners and family members that encourage and run alongside each girl, as well as thousands of family members and friends that came to spectate and cheer.
Girls on the Run is a positive youth development program that uses activity-based lessons to teach life skills to girls in 3rd to 8th grade. During the ten-week program, the lessons foster confidence, build peer connections and encourage community service, while preparing participants for the end-of-season 5k.
“As coaches we set an example of how to encourage each other and work as a team, knowing that our participants may not be getting that support anywhere else,” explained a Girls on the Run Volunteer Coach. “One of the biggest transformations we have seen was with a 5th grade girl who was struggling, so much so that we had to have a conference with her mom. After the conference, she improved drastically and we could not have been more proud of her effort the day of the 5k. About 100 feet from the finish line she stopped running and started crying. When asked what was wrong, she told her Running Buddy she never thought she would make it and couldn't believe she had accomplished something so hard!”
Since 2004, Girls on the Run of Northeast Florida has served over 14,000 girls throughout Baker, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau, Putnam and St. John’s Counties. Girls on the Run thanks Nemours Children’s Specialty Care of Jacksonville for sponsoring this event. Girls on the Run is in need of additional sponsorships for future events, as well as donations. The funding is used to pay for scholarships, which provides the program to girls who need financial assistance. Scholarships account for approximately half of all participants. Girls on the Run is also gearing up for its fall season. You can get involved by opening a new site at your school, becoming a volunteer coach, becoming a sponsor or donating to our scholarship fund.