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Girls on the Run of Nova

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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

19 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Girls on the Run has done wonderful volunteer work with Fairfax Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. They are so thoughtful and make our resident's day! Thank you for all that you do!

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.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Seeing the girls come across the finish line of the 5K--after months of hard work--is inspiring. The girls are exhausted, yet exhilarated that they accomplished a challenging goal. Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia is an extraordinary program in the region to build confidence and encourage healthy living in young girls. This is truly a life-changing experience for the girls and their families, as well as for the coaches and volunteers who guide and support them. Brava!

Susan99

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a coach for GOTR Nova with Sangster Elementary in Springfield, VA. I love the program and what it tries to promote: good health and fitness in all aspects of our life (physical, emotional, spiritual). I happen to love to run and have always used it as a stress relief and for a chance to have my own down time. I love to try to excite the girls about accomplishing their own goals. I try to concentrate their thinking on working to beat their own previous time and to just better themselves in general by cheering on a teammate or lifting up a friend who cannot run. I hope the program continues but modifies its curriculum each season to adjust to the girls who have returned for season after season. Thanks GOTR! :)

Client Served

Rating: 5

GOTR does an amazing job of introducing girls to the lifetime activity of running. Their well trained coaches are focused on improvement, enjoyment and personal development. Every child is welcomed, valued and celebrated. I wish every school was able to offer this rich, child focused program to its students.

Volunteer

Rating: 4

Well organized, and I was well supported as an assistant coach and father. It's not about running but about a positive message for girls. THe girls learn about gossips, friends, cooperations, setting goals and build friend ships. it's a place out side of school that they can succeed at.

Volunteer

Rating: 3

I have a backbround in coaching and I had heard so many positive things about GOTR that I was very excited to participate and share the experience with my daughter. Honestly I ws a bit disappointed. The program is geared more to non-athletic kids so not enough actual running for the more competitive types. We did more running in our program so the girls could RUN the 5K. The race was way too large and most kids were walking. Had we known this we probably would have chosen a smaller race where the kids could actually run safely and successfully. My daughter was mad that her practice time was 11 minutes faster than her race day time. She could never even stride comfortably due to the crowds- most of which were walking and blocking the way. Frustrating!

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I ran with my niece as her buddy during the GOTR 5K run at George Mason last month. I can't say enough good things about the race itself (organization, execution, etc.) or the program overall. As an observer embedded in the race, it was such a treat to be part of such a positive event and to see the results of GOTR's work in the form of so many confident little ladies. I would certainly do it again and will encourage others to do so as well.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I served as a coach for 3-1/2yrs and as Board President for almost 3yrs during a period of tremendous growth and change for Girls on the Run NoVA. The impact it can have on the social, emotional, mental and physical development of young girls is immeasurable. Helping these young children define their values and carve out space for their own place in the world before the world really can begin to try and box them in empowers them for a lifetime. I have watched girls, and their families, evolve in their approach to fundamental critical issues as a result of their participation in this program. Since first becoming involved with Girls on the Run in 2006, I can truly find almost nothing to say which could be construed as negative. It is an organization worth your time and money. And, most importantly, worth finding the opportunity for your daughter to participate.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Since the fall of 2010, I have been a coach for Girls on the Run. This program helps young girls from 3rd through 5th grade develop a positive self worth. Weekly discussions with the girls include friendships, bullying, and positive attitudesThe final celebration culminates in a 5K race that embodies a "can do attitude" for girls. Whether they run or walk, they have accomplished a lot! To see the girls have pride in their success is one of the reasons why I have enjoyed coaching.