Thursday, March 18, 2010

Molly Barker knows how to bring a room to tears. At Tuesday’s celebration, the founder of Girls on the Run (GOTR) mesmerized the audience with stories of personal struggles and inspiration. Like many of us, Molly felt awkward as a girl on the verge of becoming a teenager. That free spirit that young girls radiate gives way insecurity – or as Molly calls it, “the girl box” where girls focus on being who they think they should be rather than embracing who they really are.

Through its running programs, GOTR fosters self-confidence and a healthy lifestyle among girls aged 8 to 13. When she started GOTR in 1996, Molly had 3 goals:

1.) Help girls define their values
2.) Foster connectedness and help girls build positive relationships
3.) Encourage girls to become “change agents”

In 2000, GOTR came to Atlanta. Over the past 10 years, 6,000 metro-Atlanta girls have participated in GOTR programs. The girls “graduate” by participating in a 5K with their GOTR team mates and coaches. As a volunteer for GOTR’s Fall 5K, I got to see first hand the pure joy girls experienced completing the race. I’ve run a lot of races and none matched the excitement and fun these running girls brought to the event.

As a runner and a mom, I’m grateful for people like Molly Barker and the hundreds of volunteers who help girls escape the confines of “the girl box” and stay true to their real self.

Thanks Molly!

No comments: