April’s Girl Hero

April’s Girl Hero

Super Power, Niki Howard!

Niki Howard began as a coach for Girls on the Run 6+ years ago.  Since then she has literally done it all….she’s been a multi-year Running Buddy, 5K volunteer, Board member for six years and even chaired our Program Committee.  Currently she serves on the Board Governance Committee, where she has helped to inform, educate and establish effective procedures that guide our Board of Directors through important decision-making and planning for years to come.

Not only has she provided invaluable leadership, but she’s been a significant force behind the growth of the Girls on the Run Program. With Niki’s help, we have grown from serving 300 girls per year in 2010 to 1400 girl this year.

Niki will tell you that being a Running Buddy is the most favorite and satisfying roles she’s played for Girls on the Run.

“The most fulfilling part of being a Running Buddy is seeing the look of complete joy and the sense of accomplishment on the girl’s face when she crosses the finish line. When they see the finish line and hear the cheers, the girl’s pace picks up, she stands a little taller.  You can see just how proud she is of herself and as a Running Buddy, I get to share in that moment; I get to contribute to that moment. And I find myself standing a little taller, too.”

Join Niki as a Running Buddy this spring and help a girl stand a little taller as she works to cross the finish line of the Girls on the Run 5K on Sunday, May 21, 2017.  It will be one of those stand out days of your life when you show a girl any goal is attainable with hard work and perseverance.

Niki is undoubtedly a Power House for Girls on the Run.  When we need muscle or brawn…she’s there!  When we need thought provoking discussions and questions to improve the quality of our program…she’s got them!  When you need a friend/advisor/coach or Running Buddy….she’s one of the very best!

Thank you, Niki, for all you do and bring to the organization! We are better and stronger because of you.

March Girl Hero

March Girl Hero

Doesn’t Get More Super Than

Super Volunteer, Lisa Henry!

Lisa Henry is our “Super” Girl Hero of the month!  As a long- time supporter of Girls on the Run,  one of the many ways she supports GOTR is by serving as a “Super Volunteer” at the Girls on the Run 5K. As a Super Volunteer, Lisa wakes up at the crack of dawn to supervise other “day of” volunteers. Not only does she welcome them with a smile and ensure they know their role for the day, but she sets them up for success, as they support the girls, Running Buddies and families in completing the 5K. Why does she do it?

“It gives young girls the opportunity to learn about the sport in a supportive and safe environment, and the excitement of participating in their first race, face paint and all! The lessons that accompany the 5k training make this program something that they can carry with them as they grow up.”

What do the volunteers that work with her at the 5K have to say about her? Inside scoop is that Lisa is really FUN to work with!

If you want to join Lisa and her enthusiasm for women and running, consider signing up as a Super Volunteer for the 5K on May 21st. Email Race Coordinator, Ilana Balint at ilana@runforgoodracingcompany.com for more info. Or if being a Super Volunteer feels like too much responsibility, consider signing up to volunteer at the 5K this year!

February Girl Hero

February Girl Hero

We HEART our February Girl Hero, Rebecca Gerben!

We can confidently say that we wouldn’t be the organization we are without February’s Girl Hero, Rebecca Gerben. She’s literally served in more capacities and roles than we can count. Rebecca has volunteered as a Girls on the Run coach for several seasons, emcee’ d for numerous GOTR 5K’s, served as the chairperson for our fundraising and marketing committees and inspired the audiences at our Annual Auction and Sneaker Soiree events. She currently serves on our Board of Directors and is among the longest serving members.

Most recently Rebecca has become an enthusiastic leader of one of our Solemates charity running teams. Solemates is a adult charity running program for folks who want to support Girls on the Run’s mission of inspiring girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. This season, our SoleMates team will be participating in the Ragnar Northwest passage relay. Each SoleMate commits to raising funds to support scholarships for Girls on the Run participants and in exchange, GOTR supplies vans for transport, covers registration costs and connects fun individuals who seek to support girls in their community.  Since she began participating, Girl Hero, Rebecca has raised over $3,000 for Girls on the Run, while inspiring others to provide funds needed to support more girls participating in the GOTR programs.

It’s a bonding experience for sure and we’ve noticed lately that many of our runners return after having so much fun the previous year.  If you’re interested in participating, we’re happy to answer any questions!  Email Sonal at sonal@girlsrun.org, or get more info on being a SoleMate on our website.

And if you see Rebecca at the Ragnar Run this July be sure and congratulate her on her training, running and raising funds. Not only does she train hard and tirelessly support our mission, she recently welcomed a new baby GOTR girl this past week. Wow! Now that’s a serious commitment to fitness and girls in our community!

New Volunteer Opportunity

New Volunteer Opportunity

Join us as a Practice Partner this Spring!

As Girls on the Run of Puget Sound expands to serve more girls each year, the organization is also developing new volunteer opportunities to ensure the highest quality delivery of the program. One of the exciting new opportunities available in spring of 2017 is to volunteer as a Practice Partner. This volunteer role might be of interest to women who have previously volunteered as a Running Buddies, but may have wanted to learn more about the curriculum or have more engagement with their girls. Practice Partners are qualified adults and older teens who support a team and help the coach with delivering curriculum and running practices. Practice Partners will be required to attend a minimum of 6 practices and are invaluable in helping the practices flow smoothly, supporting the girls, and ensuring that practices are not cancelled due to coaching shortages. Practice Partners have the benefit of seeing firsthand the structure of the lessons and the impact of the program. For more information about Practice Partners, click HERE.

The role and requirements for our Running Buddy program has changed. Running Buddies will now only participate in the end-of-season 5K, a one-time commitment that is more accessible for parents, teachers, and other community members that want to support a GOTR girl. Therefore, although we will likely need 50-100 volunteer Running Buddies, the need for Running Buddies not related or affiliated with girls will likely decrease dramatically. While we acknowledge that this can be seen as a drawback, we’re hoping this enables communities, parents and family members to rally around girls as Running Buddies in order to provide a more sustainable and long lasting support system for years to come. For more information about Running Buddies, click HERE.

Thank you to everyone who supports our girls, whether that is in the capacity of Coach, Practice Partner or Running Buddy. Without the fabulous volunteers who donate their time each year our program would not be possible. Volunteers provide invaluable support in numerous ways that help our organization to grow and touch the lives of girls.

We are looking forward to a new year and a new season with excitement as we strive to ensure girls of King County know their true potential and self-worth.

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!

Boston Marathon Giveaway

Boston Marathon Giveaway

Exclusive Opportunity: Two Boston Marathon Race Bibs and VIP Race Experiences Available!

Hyland’s Leg Cramps, the official cramp relief sponsor of the Boston Marathon, is generously offering a Boston Marathon race bib and VIP race experience to two Girls on the Run supporters! The selected Girls on the Run representatives will join an inspiring team of eight additional runners from other organizations who represent the spirit of the Boston Marathon and motivate other runners. The value of each bib opportunity is more than $10,000.

Beginning in January, and throughout the 100 days leading up to the race, members of the Hyland’s 2017 team will share their thoughts related to Boston through photos, stories, short write-ups, selfies, videos, etc. as part of Hyland’s Find Your Finish Line campaign. Check out #HylandsFYFL to see stories from last year’s team.

The two selected Girls on the Run representatives are responsible for their own travel to Boston and will receive a VIP experience once there, including hotel accommodations, Red Sox game tickets, brunch, VIP transportation and an exclusive finish line party. They will also be cheered on via social media by Hyland’s and Girls on the Run!

The selected Girls on the Run representatives should:

  • Be able to complete a marathon in April 2017
  • Have a unique story or perspective
  • Feel like they can inspire others
  • Have an active social media presence and be comfortable with sharing inspiring personal content about this experience on social media

Selected representatives will not be asked to fundraise for Girls on the Run International but should be encouraged to fundraise for the council they are affiliated with.

Email: Communications & Marketing Coordinator, Genny Arredondo, at genny@girlsrun.org before January 6th if you are interested in the opportunity!

December’s Girl Heroes

December’s Girl Heroes

  Angie Buysse & Cynthia Per-Lee!

We are thrilled to be associated with the Girls on the Run Puget Sound (GOTRPS) as donors, running buddies and overall cheerleaders! We first became acquainted with GOTRPR five years ago through Angie’s work with the Seattle Storm Foundation.  GOTRPS was a beneficiary of the Storm Foundation that year and continues to be an important partner.  From the beginning, we were invited to observe after school lessons, review (and practice) the curriculum and participate as running buddies.  It didn’t take long before we knew and felt firsthand that GOTRPS was achieving its mission to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident!  We could hear it in their voices as the girls shouted “Girls on the Run, Girls on the Run, Girls on the Run is so much fun!”

We love the organization’s mission and the vision of every girl having the opportunity to know and activate her limitless potential and to be free to boldly pursue her dreams. Who can’t get behind that?  For us, almost as important as the mission is an organization’s values and how it achieves its mission.  For example, we have been so impressed with GOTRPS’s focus on equity and inclusion.  One of their core values is to “embrace our differences and find strength in our connectedness.”  They are living out this core value everyday as they sincerely work to make it possible for every girl in our community to have access to this incredible program.  They work tirelessly to raise funds to ensure no girl is unable to participate because of a family’s income level.  They also recognize that English is not a first language for some of the parents.  To reduce that barrier and become more inclusive, they are translating important materials and applications into languages that will enable more families to participate.

While we have never considered ourselves “philanthropists,” we were recently recognized for our philanthropy in the community. That recognition has caused us to reflect on what causes and organizations we support and why we support them.  We partner with effective organizations, like GOTRPS, that lift up girls and help them thrive today and in the future.   We are proud to support Girls on the Run Puget Sound because we believe in its mission and we applaud how it shows up in the community.

November Girl Hero

November Girl Hero

Super Star Site Liaison, Susan Shorr!


Few women are more dedicated to ensuring girls at their school feel confident and strong than standout Site Liaison, Susan Shorr, from John Muir Elementary. Site Liaison’s like Susan facilitate the smooth implementation of the Girls on the Run program by serving as a link between coaches, participants, parents and the organization. To say that Susan has gone above and beyond is an understatement. Susan has been a site liaison for the past 9 years, guaranteeing that each year girls at her school have access to the positive and confidence boosting messages that Girls on the Run provides. When we asked Susan why she stays committed to the program, she answered “It is quite special for young girls to have the opportunity to build friendships, healthy habits, and self-confidence, all at the same time” and that the Girls on the Run program “complements many of the same missions we maintain at our school.”

We are extremely thankful for Susan’s commitment to Girls on the Run and ensuring girls at John Muir Elementary know and realize their self-worth and make positive decisions. Thanks to passionate Site Liaisons like Susan, we’re able to offer our positive youth development program to a growing number of girls across King County each year.

If you would like to join Susan and bring Girls on the Run to your school or community this spring, be sure to fill out a New Site Application by Dec 15th, 2016. Learn more about starting a new program site here. Together, we’ll be able to empower 43 new teams of girls to believe in themselves, each other and their limitless potential.

October Girl Heroes

October Girl Heroes

Our Remarkable Girls on the Run Volunteers!



This month’s Girl Heroes are ALL the wonderful volunteers that make Girls on the Run possible! So, how many amazing volunteers are we talking about? Each year, we rely on over 2,000 volunteers to ensure our program is successful and our girls receive empowering messages. From coaches who work tirelessly empowering their teams of girls to site liaisons who help coordinate the logistics of the program at their site to Running Buddies who inspire the girls to reach the finish line at the 5k; we owe a tremendous amount to our volunteers. Although we don’t thank all these amazing and generous folks enough, we couldn’t be more grateful for their time, support and dedication to ensuring King County girls know their true potential and self-worth.

But it doesn’t end there. Each month, we send a call out to volunteers to help with special events or program preparations. And they almost answer the call. Most recently, a group of 15 volunteers from Microsoft helped us build program kits so our coaches would have all the materials they needed to reach their teams of girls. And this past August and September, around 100 volunteers helped us fundraise for new program sites this spring by selling programs at several Seahawks training camps and a home game at Century Field Stadium. Thanks to them, we will be able to establish brand new program sites this spring.

Would you like to join these awesome folks in ensuring all girls know their self-worth? Join us as a volunteer at the Seattle Kids Marathon or sign up to coach this spring. Do neither of these opportunities fit into your schedule? Email info@girlsrun.org to be placed on our on-call volunteer list and we’ll send you an email as opportunities arise!


September Girl Heroes

Our September Girl Heroes are Jeff & Laura from 5Focus!

Not many people can say they have empowered hundreds of Puget Sound girls, but this month’s Girl Heroes, Laura and Jeff Robinson from 5Focus are nothing short of amazing. In 2008, Laura and Jeff Robinson created the Lake Union 10K and named Girls on the Run the beneficiary of the race. The race had 600 runners and was a big hit its very first year. In 2015, the Lake Union 10K was named a “must run” Seattle 10K by Run Guides Magazine.

Last month, in its eighth year in operation, the event sold out, with over 1,500 runners crossing the finish line at South Lake Union. As a result of the Lake Union 10K and the Robinson’s hard work, we have been able to award 215 full scholarships to girls who may not have otherwise been able to participate in Girls on the Run. Not only do Laura and Jeff work tirelessly to coordinate and promote the event, but each summer, without fail, you’ll find them enthusiastically cheering on race participants at the finish line.

We are eternally grateful for the Robinson’s commitment to Girls on the Run and girls in our community. Thanks to them, every girl who applies this spring will have the chance to participate in our confidence boosting and empowering program, irregardless of ability to pay.