I choose to volunteer with Girls on the Run because I believe the work the organization does is impactful and inspiring for students. I was drawn to the GOTR mission because of my own experience growing up as a dancer. Participating in a group or team sport or activity outside of school is a significant part of my childhood, and I wanted more girls at my school to have this experience.
Being a volunteer coach with Girls on the Run - DC has made being a teacher even more meaningful for me. Last season, I noticed that the girls who participated in the program had a more positive attitude in school and even some became role models for other girls in third and fourth grade. I think a large part of this was because the girls came to school and had practice to look forward to. Practice was a place that pushed them in new physical ways and challenged them to further believe in themselves and their peers. Seeing the girls rise to these new challenges and encourage one another continues to be more than worth the time commitment.
I think the most profound impact I’ve witnessed from GOTR-DC was with myself and my entire team last year. I signed up to be a volunteer coach having never been a runner before. I had no interest in running. In fact, I actively disliked it and tried to avoid it as much as possible when I was younger. When the team heard they would be running over 3 miles at a time by the end of the season, everyone had a look of disbelief on their faces. To be honest, I couldn’t truly imagine it for myself. But when the team hit their first milestone by running one mile, I saw their disbelief turn into confidence. I think that newfound belief in the face of a big challenge will be something they, and I, can draw on in the future.