January Girl Hero

January Girl Hero

Former GOTR Participant, Vanina!

We recently interviewed Vanina (Nina) to hear her favorite memories of Girls on the Run and how she felt the program influenced her life.

What you remember from Girls on the Run?

Although Girls on the Run was years ago, I remember learning so much about body positivity, friendship and support through the weekly sessions. I remember spray painting salmon stencils near drainage pipes to encourage people to be more careful about what they were dumping into the Puget Sound. As a group, we also talked about why it is important to be a leader and be the first one take initiative. Lastly, I remember how nice it felt to connect with different girls from around Seattle and make a whole new group of friends.

How it shaped you in becoming the person you are today?

GOTR has really motivated me to want to work with middle school aged kids to ensure they have the same type of support system that I got from my Girls on the Run coaches. Coming from a low-income family, I was not able to join many programs due to financial restrictions and that is something I do not want others to face. Not only has GOTR shaped me to be the kind of person that gives back to the community, it also taught me valuable lessons about self worth that I would love to pass on to future generations, especially in places where those types of lessons might not be taught on a daily basis.

Why you think it’s an important program for girls?

I think that GOTR is an important program for girls because there are so many obstacles and stigmas around being a girl in society today. It is important for girls to have somewhere they can go and not only become more physically active and healthy, but also feel supported, encouraged, and safe.  Girls on the Run ensures girls know they can be and do anything they choose.  The encouragement that is given to girls in the program will undoubtedly travel with them throughout their lives. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to participate in a program where you are always taught that you can do anything you set your mind to.

What are your future aspirations/goals?

Although I do not yet know where life will take me, I would love to continue my education to pursue a career in public health, education or within a non-profit field. I love working with the community and being to help youth. Giving back and supporting programs like Girls on the Run that has given me so much is also something that I am very interested in. My ultimate goal is to ensure that others will have the same or better opportunities then I had.

Here’s a more recent picture of Vanina!