What is GOTR and What Does it Have To Do With Me?

There is something big brewing in America right now!  I’m sure you’re probably assuming that I’m going to say it is running, and then launch off into how and why the running boom that began back in the 1970s is still alive and kicking today.  No!  What’s brewing is more specific than that.  It is more specifically GOTR.  You may ask “What is GOTR and What Does it Have To Do With Me?

GOTR is Empowering Young Women All Over America

Three years ago, my youngest daughter Vivian was presented an opportunity thru her school to participate in GOTR.  What is GOTR you might ask?  GOTR is an acronym for Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run is a non-profit 501(c)3 life-changing, after-school program for girls in 3rd-8th grade that creatively integrates running, goal-setting and training for a 5k with a curriculum all about developing confidence, respect and healthy living. “

The flier came home from school and my first impression was pretty simply that it was a running program for young girls to learn how to run and to basically learn to get along with each other.  But after the 10 weeks that culminated in a celebratory 5k, it became very clear that the GOTR program was and IS much, MUCH more than just my first impression.

Over a period of 10 weeks, girls in the 3rd through 5th grade participate in an after-school program like no other. Designed to allow every girl to recognize her inner strength, the Girls on the Run curriculum inspires girls to define their lives on their own terms. Throughout the season, the girls make new friends, build their confidence and celebrate all that makes them unique.

The Girls on the Run lessons encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.  Participants explore and discuss their own beliefs around experiences and challenges girls face at this age.  They also develop important strategies and skills to help them navigate life experiences. We start with helping the girls get a better understanding of who they are and what’s important to them.  Then, we look at the importance of team work and healthy relationships.  And, finally, the girls explore how they can positively connect with and shape the world.

Physical activity is woven into our program to inspire an appreciation of fitness and to build habits that lead to a lifetime of health.  At the end of each three month session, the girls participate in a Girls on the Run 5K event.  This celebratory, non-competitive event is the culminating experience of the curriculum.  Completing the 5K gives the girls a tangible understanding of the confidence that comes through accomplishment as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals.  Crossing the finish line is a defining moment when the girls realize that even the seemingly impossible IS possible.

What Does GOTR Have To Do With Me?

Girls on the Run and it’s driving principles are something I can get behind.  As many of you know, I have coached cross-country and distance running to girls grades 7-12 at Prairie and am going on my seventh year of coaching.  I’ve always thought that coaching any sport is so much more than just the sport itself, and have believed it to be an opportunity to positively influence young kids and in my case more specifically young girls.

To give a little more preface, late last winter my running bestie and I decided to go after a shared bucket list goal of running a marathon together.  We chose to run the 2018 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th of this upcoming fall.  It was her idea to run for charity and we both loved the idea of running for Girls on the Run.  It just made so much sense!!

We both feel very passionate about the program and what it’s done for girls all across America.  We also both share the same passion for doing what we can for youth and young women and as proof, she volunteer coaches cross country with me at Prairie.  This is not the first time she’s put her own running abilities and physical gift towards raising money and giving back towards charity, but it WILL be my first time doing so.

My Fundraising Goal

I will be running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 7th and fundraising $1500 on behalf of Girls on the Run-Chicago to empower young women. These donations go directly toward crucial program scholarships for girls in need. By June 30th I am trying to raise $200, any donation will help me hit my commitment goal!

You can donate online here: http://www.crowdrise.com/2018-gotr-chicago-marathon/fundraiser/RunnerMomCoach

Or by writing a check to Girls on the Run-Chicago with my name, including SoleMates 2018, in the memo section. Please send your checks to Girls on the Run-Chicago (1415 N. Dayton St, Suite 112 Chicago, IL. 60642). On behalf of the 11,000 girls that GOTRC will serve this school year, THANK YOU!

I will be honest in saying, while this new goal of running for charity is exciting and something I’m passionate about, I am a little nervous about meeting the fundraising goal.  If you have read this far and choose to help support me and Girls on the Run, I will say from the core of my heart…THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!  Your donation WILL make a difference for a young girl out there that just needs guidance, acceptance, self-worth, a confidence boost, and to be taught that she CAN make a difference in the world by learning how to be positive and make intentionally good choices.