Girls on the Run helps build healthy habits, instills confidence through running

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - Their mission is simple. To inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident. In this week's Spotlight on Youth, we're shining the light on a local organization that encourages all of this through running.

Girls practicing for their Spring 5K race.

Girls on the Run is a national non-profit organization that started with one school and has grown to more than 200 councils in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In Southcentral Alaska, that covers girls in Anchorage, the Mat-Su and Eagle River.

The after-school program integrates running into a social-emotional learning curriculum that helps young girls identify things like being a good friend, how to be a good community member and how to intervene when it comes to bullying.

"We see a lot of increase in compassion, in confidence and their ability to have conversations that are honest and open and sometimes a little bit vulnerable," said Kennis Brady, Council Director for GOTR Southcentral Alaska.

Practices for the girls start with circle time. It gives them a chance to calm down and talk about their goals for the day. Then it's on to some sort of physical activity. We caught up with a few of the girls to hear why they joined and what the organization has done for them.

"I learned that you get stronger when you run and everybody do nice to each other," said one participant.

"I learned that there's like some people that feel left out and when you're running there's people that compliment you so that way you have confidence," said another.

"Don't give up too easy on yourself because you can get way better by trying," said a third.

GOTR has about a 68 percent scholarship rate and the big thing is you don't have to be a runner to join and volunteers are always welcome.

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