June’s Girl Hero

June’s Girl Hero

We’re honoring our fantastic Girls on the Run 5k title sponsor,

QFC, as our Girl Hero!

QFC has been one of Girls on the Run’s biggest and brightest champions since they first became our 5k presenting sponsor in 2011. Since then, they have provided enough scholarship support to fully fund almost 37 complete teams – 550 girls! In addition to their financial support, QFC generously provides in-kind donations of nutritious food for our 5K participants, signs to cheer participants along the course, gift cards for snacks at our program sites, school signs and banners for our 5k, printing and floral support for our auction events, and so much more. QFC employees also volunteer their time as coaches, running buddies, and event support.

QFC’s title sponsorship has enabled us to take our 5k to the next level and make the event a truly transformative experience for all our girls, families, volunteers, and community members. We are so grateful for the many ways in which they positively impact our organization and community. Thank you, QFC, for championing healthy living for our girls and families!

2017 GOTRPS 5K!

2017 GOTRPS 5K!

Forming a New GOTR Partnership

Forming a New GOTR Partnership

Sophie Clipson, a member of the Freshmen Social Justice Committee at Holy Names Academy, has worked with other committee members to begin a partnership with Girls on the Run of Puget Sound. The Freshmen Social Justice Committee was started just this year at Holy Names and focuses on social issues related to gender equity in the community. The committee agreed to partner with Girls on the Run because they are passionate about the GOTR mission of helping young girls love their bodies and feel confident in who they are. Also, some of the committee members had been involved with Girls on the Run as participants in the past and wanted to give back to the organization. Sophie spoke more about this intentional partnership in relation to the mission statement of Girls on the Run:

“I really like that in Girls on the Run, their mission says, “We inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident…”. I think this really speaks to what we want every girl to feel. We want girls to feel happy about who they truly are, and feel confident in who they are and what they can do. In addition, I think the healthy part can play at being physically healthy, but also mentally healthy. It’s important for girls to love who they are.”

During a sunny practice in April, five members of the Freshmen Social Justice Committee attended the Girls on the Run practice at St. Therese Catholic Academy with snacks and smiles in tow. The five committee members were engaged during practice by partnering up with St. Therese GOTR girls for various activities such as warm up exercises and stretching, encouraging discussion around the main lesson topic of the day and finally, by completing the running work out as a team. GOTR Staff is excited to see Holy Names’ students acting as role models for younger girls to show them the importance of being themselves, having positive attitudes and giving back to the community. Thank you to St. Therese GOTR Coaches, Kate and Rose, and Site Liaison, Quinn, for helping foster this partnership.

May’s Girl Hero

May’s Girl Hero

Jo Bader is our May Girl Hero!

Jo first learned about GOTR at a fundraising auction. Shortly thereafter, she signed up to be a running buddy and quickly became a huge supporter of the GOTR mission. Since then, Jo has coached, chaired our auction committee, helped with special projects in our office, and has been a member of our Board of Directors for five years.  She is also a SoleMate charity runner, fundraising for scholarships to empower girls while training for her 2nd Ragnar Relay race this summer!   At GOTRPS, when we have a special project or are looking for enthusiastic, passionate super hero level support, we look to Jo…. she has done it all and done it well!  Currently, Jo is our Board Secretary and is also chairing our 5k committee.

Jo says, “One of my favorite things to do is cheer on the girls as they cross the finish line at our 5K. Words can’t describe the excitement on each girl’s face as she achieves her goal of completing a 5K race! This year we are doubling that excitement and energy at our 5K event on May 21st at a new venue at Renton Memorial Stadium. We are expecting 1400 girls, along with their running buddies and coaches. The 5K committee is working hard to make this larger event run smoothly, while taking advantage of the larger space to engage with GOTR families and supporters.”

Can’t be a coach or a running buddy but still want to experience the fun and energy of GOTR? Sign up as a community runner! After the race, stick around and cheer on the girls as they complete the final stretch of the race. We hope to see you there! Register here.

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!