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Girls on the Run - DC

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The mission of Girls on the Run-DC (GOTR-DC) is to provide preteen girls (grades 3-8) in Washington, DC with an innovative experiential learning program that pairs a proven character development curriculum with running instruction. The life skills curriculum equips girls with the information and empowerment they need to meet life’s pressing challenges: from peer pressure to bullying, body image to healthy relationships and healthy living. During each 10-week program (offered fall and spring) girls will develop and improve competence, build confidence in who they are, develop strength of character, respond to others and self with care and compassion, create positive connections with peers and adults, and make a meaningful contribution to community and society. The girls also set goals and challenge themselves physically as they prepare for a culminating 5K race, which takes place at Anacostia Park.

Results: Nearly 2,050 girls became Girls on the Run in DC last year and learned they have limitless potential. The curriculum, which is written by educators, piloted, tested and rolled out across 225 councils encourages girls to make thoughtful decisions, improves their self-confidence, body image and increases their physical activity along with imparting life skills that can be applied now and into adulthood.

Target demographics: girls in 3rd - 8th grade learn to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that integrates running.

Direct beneficiaries per year: over 2,050 girls across all 8 wards of the city

Geographic areas served: Washington DC

Programs: the life skills curriculum which equips girls with the information and empowerment they need to meet life’s pressing challenges: from peer pressure to bullying, body image to healthy relationships and healthy living.

Community Stories

30 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been aware of GOTR for several years as I would occasionally see my neighborhood school's team practicing and thought "what a great concept." Recently my exposure to the program has been as a parent of two girls that participated for four straight seasons. Watching my two girls experience the program has been fantastic. I always knew that the exercise portion was something that could make a girl feel better about themselves, but the whole curriculum has been wonderful to observe. My girls have talked about the lessons and shared their perspectives on how the conversations have helped them navigate some tough social dynamics. They feel stronger physically and emotionally because of the program. GOTR is a wonderful addition to their education!

Keisha6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I had the pleasure of volunteering with Girls on the Run during their spring 5k run event. I was so inspired by the camaraderie and positive energy - it was absolutely magnetic. I love GOTR's mission of creating confident and capable young ladies. I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to participate in the program.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Girls on the Run DC for over 5 years and I have brought it to two different schools in DC. This incredible program provides an amazing experience for so many girls across varying backgrounds and social economic status. As a coach and site liaison, I have seen our girls grow in self confidence, self esteem and developing a more healthy lifestyle. The lessons are engaging and the girls are always so excited to reach their goal in distance as they work up to their 5k. You know you've made an impact when you go by the local park and see the girls running with a family member encouraging their own family to be more active! Furthermore, my current school is 100% sponsorship and support my girls get from GOTR-DC is truly amazing, from having a corporate sponsorship to providing my team with shoe scholarships. This program is truly amazing and has such a strong positive impact in girls lives.

Comments ( 1 )

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GraceK 10/16/2016

We're very grateful for your passion for the mission and the girls. Thank you for helping change girls' lives!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls on the run DC is one of my favorite non profits in DC. The mission is so simple: help little girls of all wards feel more confident and stronger through the use of a creative running program that also teaches them healthy habits. I love that girls of all 8 wards follow the exact same program and that many girls (60-70%) are on scholarships from girls on the run. They get to all run together for the 5K which is awesome! The staff is passionate and very supportive, going above and beyond to support volunteers. Getting involved always brightens my day!!

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GraceK 10/16/2016

We're truly honored by the amazing support of our community in giving girls the chance to participate and learn life skills that will help them now and into adulthood. Thank you for your remarkable support.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls on the Run has been an incredible experience for so many girls across the country. As a coach for over 10 seasons, I have seen our girls grow and learn so much about themselves over the years. The lessons are so beneficial in promoting self-esteem, healthy lifestyles and positive relationships. The girls are so proud of their accomplishments and watching the smiles on our girls faces as they cross the finish line of the 5K is priceless. The program has done so much for my students and I'm so glad we've been able to positively influence so many girls with this amazing program!

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GraceK 10/16/2016

Thank you! Because of you, girls in our community learn that they have limitless potential!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GOTR has had my heart for many, many years. As a native North Carolinian, where the program originated, I learned about the program through my father who died in 2005 after a battle with cancer. As the father of two girls, he connected deeply with the mission of GOTR and encouraged me to get involved since he knew I was passionate about running. In celebration of his legacy, I became a coach and a founding board member of the local DC Board. It has been an extraordinary privilege to watch the organization grow and mature through the years. Thoughtful leaders have helped the program expand its reach, thus impacting thousands of girls lives.

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GraceK 10/14/2016

We are so honored to have your support!

Donor

Rating: 5

Girls on the Run - DC is one of my favorite nonprofits! I had the great pleasure of joining the founding board of the organization and have witnessed the incredible growth and impact GOTR has made in DC. There is outstanding leadership on staff and on the board and they do an excellent job of recruiting coaches and volunteers to support the program. Every parent I have ever talked to has always raved about the program and the positive impact it has had on their daughter. I have participated as a buddy runner in their 5K races and I am always inspired by the girls and their enthusiasm and determination. I strongly encourage everyone to get involved with this organization...run in the 5K race, be a buddy runner, participate in the SoleMates program, coach a team, be a donor...you won't regret it! Girls on the Run is so much fun!

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GraceK 10/14/2016

Thank you! We're grateful for your support and passion for the program.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Girls on the Run - DC is a phenomenally well-run and positive program for young girls! Having interacted with this organization as both a coach and now a board member, I have seen firsthand that every aspect of the program is thoughtfully aligned to the mission and focused on providing a great experience for as many girls as possible in DC, along with their families and the many volunteers that happily give their time to support this great work. Every season, the hundreds of girls who participate walk away with a broadened mindset and useful tactics to become healthy, confident and joyful young women!

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GraceK 10/14/2016

We love our volunteers who bring joy to young girls each and every day! Thank you for your dedication.

Previous Stories
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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful program and experience, both for the participants and the volunteers. It's incredibly gratifying to watch the girls learn and grow across the season, and a ton of fun for everyone involved - especially the 5k! The coaching structure is well-organized and supportive, providing every resource needed along the way.

Mary463

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Girls on the Run is a phenomenal organization that provides it's volunteers with superb resources to provide first rate training to grade school aged girls to not only enable them to successfully complete their first 5K, but also to empower them to stand up against peer pressure, bullying, and a variety of social issues facing young women today. Girls on the Run also puts on a first-rate 5K at the culmination of each semester's training program that is simply excellent. I cannot say enough good about this organization and what it does for young women and the way it equips its volunteers to execute the mission.

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GraceK 10/14/2016

Thank you for your heartfelt comments! It makes us smile when volunteers like you join our organization to change girls' lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Wonderful nonprofit with low overhead and great recruitment of repeat and new volunteers!

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GraceK 10/14/2016

Thank you very much for taking the time to comment and for giving back to the girls in our community through volunteerism!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

As someone who has worked in the field of education for over 10 years, I’ve always believed in giving back and acting in a way that will better the lives of others. My involvement with Girls on the Run - DC is no exception. I had the opportunity to coach and act as the site liaison for Girls on the Run in spring 2015 at a school in NE DC. I had prior exposure to Girls on the Run, so I knew what an incredible organization it was, and I was excited to get involved on a deeper level. As I started coaching, practices became the highlight of my day. We only had six girls on our team, but they were so committed. Practice provided a safe space for them to talk about things that they couldn’t always talk about in the classroom walls. They actively participated in lessons and we could see them becoming more self-confident with every conversation and every run. All of our girls completed the 5k at the end of the season and every parent of our girls came to support them. In a school that often struggles with family engagement, I think this showed how important this was to the girls and their families.

Although every girl on our team grew throughout the season, there was one particular girl who really came out of her shell over the course of the season. She was the quietest girl on the team, as well as the only 8th grader, and she often would not speak up in practice. She also needed a lot of encouragement to run in practice. As the season went on, she became more comfortable and opened up more in practice. The other girls on the team would encourage her, both to speak up and to run. I often ran with her in practice to encourage her to run for longer periods of time before walking because I knew she could do it. She was awarded a spirit award by her teammates at the end of one of the practices, and you could see how much it meant to her by the smile on her face. I was especially proud to see her finish the 5k at the end of the season.

To continue my giving to Girls on the Run, I decided to become a SoleMate for the Marine Corps Marathon this past fall. It was my 6th full marathon and raising money for one of my races is something that I’d been wanting to do for awhile. Seeing the impact Girls on the Run has on young girls and knowing how many girls in DC need a scholarship to participate, I knew my money raised would be meaningful. I was able to raise over $1000 through the generosity of my friends, and I feel great knowing that will allow more girls to participate. I look forward to continuing to give back to Girls on the Run and continuing to make a difference for girls throughout the District!

If you want to support Girls on the Run-DC, consider volunteering at the upcoming community 5k, coaching at a local school in the spring, or making a donation here http://cfp-dc.org/dy0I.

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GraceK 10/14/2016

You're a remarkable example to the girls in the program. Thanks you for your story and sharing the impact the program makes!

Review from #MyGivingStory

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've been a community coach with Girls on the Run for four seasons over the last five years. As a nonprofit professional, I've always been impressed by how smoothly GOTR operates. They've been the ideal program to volunteer for -- they have a clear sense of mission and provide an incredible opportunity in the community, they make volunteering as easy as possible for interested coaches, and they are incredibly organized when it comes to complex logistics, like the 5K for 1000+ girls and their parents. Staff has always been flexible and responsive, such as when nearly 30 girls at my school site wanted to participate in the program. They were open to us nearly doubling the size of our team and supported us by recruiting new community coaches so we could provide a safe and fun opportunity for every girl. The program is also fantastically designed for its target audience -- 3rd-5th grade girls--and provides coaches with all the materials, from curriculum to balloons and stickers, that we need to implement it. I've consistently been impressed with how the girls immediately "get" the program and start incorporating lesson tenets into the way they approach challenges and opportunities in their daily lives. It's been a great experience every year, and I'm looking forward to next year.

Comments ( 1 )

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GraceK 10/14/2016

Our coaches are so crucial to delivering the program to the girls in DC! Thank you so very much for your comments.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Great organization to work with and raise funds for young girls.

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GraceK 10/14/2016

Thank you for supporting young girls in DC! We raise funds for 60-70% of the girls in DC in order for them to be able to participate, and your support is crucial to giving them this chance.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Great way to engage young girls in exercise and awesome curriculum to help them apply life skills.

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GraceK 10/14/2016

Thank you for volunteering to create a community where young girls can become strong leaders of tomorrow.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a coach for GOTR for three years and have had a very positive experience. The program targets many important situations kids encounter as they are growing up. It helps give them the skills and confidence they need to move through these challenging situations, while adding the importance of physical activity and nutrition. It is a well organized and balanced program.

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GraceK 10/14/2016

We ❤ our coaches!!! Thank you very much for giving girls the opportunity to find their confidence.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

Working with GOTR-DC has been extremely fulfilling. The girls are eager to learn and practice their run. They feel so accomplished towards the end of the semester. For some of the girls that had a chance to join for the second semester, they were able to encourage family members to run with them. It has been an amazing experience and I'm looking forward to the upcoming school year!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GOTR has had an amazing impact on my students. This will be my fourth season coaching, and I think this is one of the best afterschool programs that girls in elementary school can be involved with. The girls learn basic principles of fitness, but also how to live a healthy lifestyle throughout the course of the program. We noticed the girls in school using positive techniques to solve conflicts, deal with bullying, and supporting each otherwith positive language during the school day. The effects of the program are long-lasting and easily observable. Also, the sense of accomplishment that the girls feel after finishing the end of the season 5K race is amazing! This race helps the girls learn a can-do attitude. The staff at GOTR is great, they are extremely responsive and ready to help whenever and however they can. The program offer scholarships for girls need as well as free shoes. So, the program is accessible to all.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

GOTR is an incredibly powerful program for the young girls in our school! The curriculum is well paced and well organized and builds self-esteem and coping skills while also teaching perseverance and cooperation skills. The GOTR office is efficient and well-organized and logistics always run smoothly. They support coaches well and empower us to empower our girls!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a coach with Girls on the Run for several seasons and each season is more rewarding then the next. This a great organization for Youth Development and Character Building for Girls. The staff is great. The program is highly organized and effective.

It is amazing to see the girls blossom over a season and to see them become part of a team and form bonds with other girls through team discussions and running. At the very beginning of the season, there are always a few quiet girls, and without fail, a few weeks in, they want to share and are as excitable and outgoing as the others, and their individual personalities come out. This idea of helping girls bring out their personalities and get rid of that self-conscious exterior that many of us carry with us is part of what brings me back season after season.

Grace, who is now a 6th grader summed up exactly what Girls on the Run aims to achieve in an end of a season note: "Dear Coach Elyse, Thank you for making it possible to do Girls on the Run. I felt like I couldn't do it, but you urged me on and made me feel like the one and only Grace. You made the impossible, possible."

If you aren't able to commit to coaching, the organization has many one day volunteer opportunities and social fundraising opportunities such as Solemates.

This is easily the most rewarding and best non-profit that I have volunteered with.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Girls on the Run for about two years now. I had first found out about the organization by the Northern Virginia branch. We use their same race course and had learned a lot about the race aspect but never the program. Once Girls on the Run DC moved into our office space, I quickly learned all about the program and wanted to know how I could get involved. I am now a coach at one of the GOTR-DC locations and am LOVING the experience. I never realized how much girls at this young age have to go through at school and with their friends until I was entrenched in the age group again. Its hard to believe you forget so quickly. I have been motivated and inspried by these girls that come out twice a week to RUN and learn more about themselves and how to react to the dangers of being a teenage girl. I have never run a 5k and cannot wait to run with my girls. What a great program and GREAT EXPERIENCE this has been for me!