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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Education, Educational Services, Physical Fitness & Community Recreational Facilities, Sports, Youth Development, Youth Development Programs

Mission: Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia (GOTR NOVA) supports girls in developing the confidence and character they need to become strong, healthy young women. GOTR NOVA is one of the largest independent affiliates of Girls on the Run International, serving 5,000 girls each year across Northern Virginia. Since 2000, GOTR NOVA has directly served more than 50,000 girls.

Results: GOTR NOVA uses pre- and post-program participant surveys to measure the impact of the curriculum on our participants. Findings from the Fall 2014 season showed that girls who began the program with lower than average pre-season scores on confidence in physical activity, self-worth, connection, character, caring, contribution and physical activity frequency -- as well as higher scores on sedentary behaviors -- showed statistically significant improvements from pre-season to post-season. This suggests that the girls who need the program the most are also the ones likely to improve their life skills as a result of participating in Girls on the Run. In 2013, GOTR NOVA worked with George Mason University and our research showed, with statistical significance, that after a season of Girls on the Run, girls have higher self-esteem, are more satisfied with their body size, exercise more, and feel a greater sense of support for exercise from their family, teachers and friends. Our study findings were true for all girls in the program and did not vary based on income, ethnic background, athleticism, or how many seasons they'd participated in Girls on the Run.

Target demographics: girls in grades 3rd - 8th

Direct beneficiaries per year: 5,000 girls

Geographic areas served: Northern Virginia: Arlington County, City of Alexandria, City of Falls Church, City of Manassas, City of Manassas Park, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County

Programs: A unique, experience-based after-school program which creatively integrates running. The program is delivered over a 10-week season by trained volunteer coaches who guide and mentor pre-adolescent girls through a rich curriculum including lessons on positive self talk, healthy friendships, nutrition, and gratitude.

Community Stories

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Alex41

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've participated in the Arlington-located 5ks! They are extremely fun and well managed. They are organized, clean and it's always easy to find staff/volunteers if you need help. Besides that the crowds are amazing and they always draw out a ton of participants. I love GOTR NOVA!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This is my ninth season as a Coach for Girls on the Run. I continue to coach at the same school where I taught for 26 years and from which I retired in 2010. I travel 15 miles each way because I see this 'job' as one of the most fulfilling I've ever had. I coached a preteen whose grades improved in five areas between first quarter and second. I truly believe that it was a boost in confidence and self-esteem - at the heart of the Girls on the Run philosophy - that made this possible. I've worked with another young lady who had trouble putting one foot ahead of the other to complete a quarter-mile lap and is now looking forward to her first 5K. I can't say enough about the impact of this program and its importance in the lives of the girls it touches!!!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a GOTR coach since 2006. This program is critical for young girls in developing positive self esteem and healthy living. I wished there had been something like this for me as a young girl. I have seen girls come to the program shy, self conscious, and hating to exercise and in 12 weeks they are CHANGED. The shy quiet girl is excited to share an experience and cannot wait to run laps. The program really gives girls a safe place to discuss the numerous challenges that face young girls today. It is NOT a running program, but we use running and the 5k as a way to reinforce the theme of an active lifestyle and healthy living.

I have seen my girls complete 3 years of middle school Girls on Track and head into high school so much better prepared for the challenges they are faced with. The teachers at my school tell my my girls are much more focused in school and do better because of the program. I still keep in touch with some of my girls that are in college now and are leading successful lives with bright futures. All of them will say that the program changed their lives and gave them the confidence they needed to go after their dreams.

I read a few of the reviews that talked about the cost. I understand it is expensive for a lot of families, but there is no price you can put on helping a young girl to develop positive self esteem and point her in the direction of an active lifestyle. There is SO much pressure on young girls today. As a parent you need to take every opportunity you can to help your daughter through these rough years. This program is one of the best things I have seen that does this.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first heard of GOTR through my daughter's elementary school and found out there was a need for volunteer coaches. I am a fitness professional and thought this would be a great way to spend my time. I also learned that running is just a small portion of what this organization is teaching these young ladies. The life lessons they are receiving are invaluable. Having my daughter in GOTR has been a blessing. She is now a 5th grader with confidence and knows what it means to be true to herself and positive about who she is! And I'm grateful that I've been able to share these memories with her and her friends.

Review from Guidestar

Millie S.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I first became aware of Girls on the Run Northern Virginia when a friend's daughter became involved. I was her Buddy Runner and was amazed at the program.

The fact that the program is available to young girls is awesome and that I could also be a party of it was great too.

I decided to become a volunteer and found a Head Coach position and have been doing it almost a year now. It has been an awesome experience. I do feel like I make a difference and the NOVA GOTR staff have been supportive.

The NOVA GOTR staff are always there to answer questions and provide support. The way they organize everything is efficient and it couldn't be easier to be part of this organization. It's been a joy to volunteer with them.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 1

The fee of $165 is far too high. In addition the organization apparently doesn't want to take cash or checks from individual girls registering under the reduced rates. I am against the public school promoting this organization, and then making me the "bad guy" because I won't pay that much for my daughter to join. My daughter has done this for 2 years now and the only thing I see out of the "program" is time set aside afterschool with a teacher to run. The so-called "materials" are not all that useful.

Additionally it is my understanding the organization does not want to accept individual payments of cash or check from girls registering. So they dump that work and hassles on the local volunteers as well. Don't waste your money supporting this organization, support your county recreation center or school programs first.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls on the run is an after-school program based on teaching young girls in grades 3-6 to become more active, healthy, and emotionally aware. As an assistant coach, I was amazed at the amount of encouragement and support from parents, friends, event organizers, and community memebers during our end-of-season 5K. This program is truly exceptional to the lives of young girls who benefit from learning how to live a healthy lifestyle.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

What a great organization GOTR is, these women are doing so much for the young girls of NOVA. This is evident when attending an event and you see those young girls with so much confidence, poise and enjoying what they are doing. My girls are young women now, but I so wish this type of an organization would have been available for them in their formative years. I am a volunteer for this organization and I find the day so rewarding being around these young girls. I will volunteer again and again and tell all my friends about it. Kudos to the staff of GOTRofNOVA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Volunteer

Rating: 1

My main objection to this organization is the finances. They charge $165 per semester per girl -- much more than the other after-school classes with paid staff -- yet rely on volunteer coaches. In other organizations with volunteer leaders(e.g. soccer that costs $40 a season and girl scouts that costs $12 a year!) the cost is much less. GOTR parents pay -- A LOT -- and so it is much harder to get help to cover days when a coach is missing, or help with the practice 5K, or pick up program materials or race packets in FAIRFAX. I understand the 5K costs money, but most 5Ks I enter are $25 to $35, not $165. The curriculum is the same year after year, also. What does the money go towards? This organization expects a LOT of its volunteers but in my opinion is not a good value for coaches or girls.

Kristin16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with many organizations supporting my children, but GOTR has been by far the best organized, professional, life changing and amazing groups ever.