By Aftan Lynch
April 24, 2012
This program is significant. Research has shown that girls entering adolescence experience a tremendous amount of change. Their bodies are growing and developing, they are starting to critically think about the world, and they are feeling the strong pressures of the media and their peers. Sadly, the media does a poor job of representing women in a realistic and positive manner. We know that the self-esteem of girls in this age group plummets; depression, eating disorders, and addiction become very real problems for girls as they navigate this tumultuous period.
Girls on the Run aims to teach girls helpful skills and tools they can use through this journey. Our goal is to inspire them to explore their individual power as joyful, healthy, and confident young women. WISH believes that by empowering girls to embrace who they are, and value themselves based on their inner character rather than their outer appearance, we are helping them realize their limitless potential.
During the 12-week curriculum in addition to training to run a 5K we address vital subjects including bullying, gossiping, cooperation, communication, peer pressure, and media literacy. But perhaps most important, throughout the program the volunteer coaches are trained to show encouragement and love for the girls just the way they are. We also encourage the girls to recognize their capacity to help their team members do the same, creating an environment that is accepting and positive. At the end of each season, the girls choose a community service project that broadens their focus.
Each season we evaluate the girls on three areas: self-esteem, body image, and attitudes toward exercise. After each season we find that girls are more confident, exercise more, and have a healthier outlook of their bodies.
I encourage you to join us at the 5K and witness the impact this program has on these girls. If you are interested in participating, or supporting this program, please contact Women in Safe Homes at 225-9474 or visit www.wishak.org.
About: "Prevention Specialist at Women in Safe Homes. It is our belief that every girl has the power to embrace who she is, define who she wants to be, celebrate differences, rise to any challenge, and achieve her dreams. "
Received April 20, 2012 - Published April 24, 2012
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