A-W-E-S-O-M-E, awesome, awesome, awesome, that’s the way to be! 

Twice a week, 3rd to 5th grade girls at Custer Elementary and Dower Elementary can be found practicing positive self-talk, setting personal goals, and building friendships after school with Girls on the Run WestSound. Girls on the Run is one of several Greentrike Expanded Learning Opportunities at Clover Park School District this spring, and has been a provider at Tacoma Public Schools for the past two school years. The program inspires girls to build their confidence, kindness, and decision making skills, culminating in a 5K celebration at the end of the session. 

“Clover Park is just really an amazing opportunity for girls that wouldn’t have access to this program because of the partnership that they have with the afterschool programming.” – Noel Abrams, Girls on the Run WestSound Program Manager-Pierce County

Each session begins with a reflective check in and activity before transitioning into movement to prepare girls for their 5k run. Lessons cover topics like inner beauty, having difficult conversations, gratitude, and positive self-talk, and are returned to throughout the program to show girls how they can infuse lessons learned into their daily lives. 

During week three at Custer Elementary, the girls discussed gratitude and modeled “I feel when you” statements to explore times they felt grateful and ungrateful. The gratitude lesson is part of a larger strategic curriculum that invites girls to think in terms of the self, others, and the world, asking questions like “How do you access your star power?”, “What does it look like to choose friendships that are life giving to you?”, and “How can you make a difference in your community?

While the program gets girls ready to run their 5k, the physical aspect focuses on movement and setting personal goals rather than competition. 

“We really just ask the girls to keep moving forward. Which might be running or hopping or skipping or walking. However the girls individually want to move, we give them the power to choose.” – Noel Abrams

In addition to social and emotional lessons and physical movement, each Girls on the Run team chooses a community impact project to implement in their community. During their third session, girls at Custer Elementary brainstormed ideas like hosting a bake sale to raise money for the homeless and picking up garbage in the neighborhoods surrounding their school. 

On May 20, over 800 girls from across Pierce, Kitsap, and Mason counties will gather at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds for their celebratory 5k. The closing event gives girls a tangible sense of accomplishment and community and doesn’t end until the last girl crosses the finish line. Girls on the Run is always looking for volunteer support, and you can apply to volunteer here

If you’re interested in becoming an ELO provider in Pierce County, you can find resources and a partnership interest form here.