YWCA Partners with Girls on the Run to Empower Young Girls

January 13, 2012

As a part of its mission of eliminating racism and empowering women, the YWCA Central Alabama has partnered with Girls on the Run to provide a healthy after-school activity to build self-esteem for girls in YWoodlawn.

Girls on the Run (GOTR) is a positive youth development program which combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls.

In its inaugural season, GOTR Birmingham established three teams reaching 32 girls with locations in YWoodlawn, Mountain Brook Junior High School and Railroad Park.

The teams meet twice a week to work on their set curriculum which addresses many aspects of the girls’ development including their physical, emotional, mental and social well-being. These lessons provide girls with the tools to make positive decisions and to avoid risky adolescent behaviors.

In addition to their set curriculum, the girls are also encouraged to participate in other activities to reinforce the importance of teamwork. Last fall, they completed their first 5K, participated in the Woodlawn Christmas parade and they will attend a UAB women’s basketball game later this month.

In December, the program received the Jim Dearth Advocacy Award from Children's of Alabama, which promotes organizations and creative initiatives advocating for the health needs of children in the state. "This is a tremendous honor and it reinforces the uniqueness of this program in Alabama," said Catherine Gregory, Executive Director of GOTR Birmingham.

Pleased with the success that GOTR has enjoyed since beginning programming last fall, Gregory credits much of the program’s success to the YWCA.

“The YWCA opened many doors for our fledgling organization and in many ways our success can only be attributed to their support,” said Gregory.

Looking forward to the spring, GOTR has plans to extend its reach. The organization anticipates a total of seven teams and 80 girls, adding new sites in Birmingham and Homewood, in addition to launching Solemates, an adult charity fundraising leg of the program, and hosting its first Girls on the Run 5K in May 2012.

Registration for GOTR participants for the spring season opens on Tuesday, February 6th.

The YWCA is proud to continue its partnership with Girls on the Run to empower girls to activate their limitless potential and boldly pursue their dreams. For more information about Girls on the Run, call 205-999-5649 or visit www.girlsontherunbham.org.

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