At the end of the 10-week Girls on the Run program coordinated by the Walnut Creek Family YMCA, the participants complete a 5Krun.
That accomplishment is the cherry on the top for the girls who participate in a program that is much more than just running.
“We talk to the girls about a lot of issues they are facing at this age,” said Chelsey Bowermaster, the coordinatorof Girls on the Run. “Some of the topics we highlight include making healthy decisions, inner beauty, leadership and choosing proper friends.”
Girls on the Run is an ongoing program for third through fifth grade girls from Hubbell, Hillis, Windsor, Fairmeadows and Clive elementary schools in the Des Moines area. Adult women serve as volunteer coaches and mentors to the girls during the twice-a-week practice sessions.
Bowermaster says that by the end of the program, there is a definite change in the girls.
“I have had teachers tell me they see a remarkable rise of confidence in these girls,” she said. “They are now the class leaders. Girls on the Run teaches responsibility and commitment while empowering the girls to feel good about themselves.”