WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - Kaylee and Ella Martling cheer with their mom and coach Cindy, "Girls on the run is so much fun!!"
Lacie Flynn, the Girls on the Run Program Coordinator says, "Girls on the run is a twelve-week mentoring- based running program. They meet twice a week for twelve weeks and we go over curriculum that encourages self-esteem and healthy habits."
Kaylee and Ella like the program: "what I like about it is running and learning about peer pressure, or bullying, and just having fun"
This after-school program for 3rd through 8th grade girls is gaining momentum.
From its humble start two years ago of just 8 girls, it's grown to more than 200 this season.
Flynn likes where it's heading. "I would like to see the program offered in every school," she said.
The twelve-week program finishes with a 5K run with their coaches.
Cindy Martling is a coach for the Wellington group. "I had the privilege of working with a lot of young girls and one girl in particular; she was in middle school and had never done a physical activity before," said Cindy.
She continues "With a lot of encouragement and praise and help from her parents, she was able to run the 5K after the twelve weeks! Her confidence level just soared!"
Cindy's two daughters have been through the program and now are mini-mentors.
Ella starts "I like to encourage them and help them…" then Kaylee says, "It really doesn't matter how fast we go or how long it takes us, we cheer each other on and give each other hi fives"
Girls on the run charges a small fee for supplies but as non-profit, relies on donations to cover the fees for those who can't afford them. You can sponsor one girl, or be a corporate sponsor to make sure no girl gets left out because of finances.
Lacie "Right now funding for girls on the run is limited, and we are hoping to be able to offer it to every girl"
If you want to donate, or be a volunteer coach, or you have girls that would benefit from this kind of program, more info can be found on the Girls on the Run web pages in our area.