Star Hill Elementary School started a program in the fall that is aimed at building girls up both physically and mentally.
Girls on the Run is a program in which girls train for a 5K while also learning life lessons from their coaches. Members of the team and coaches attended Tuesday’s Caesar Rodney Board of Education meeting to tell school board members a little bit about the program.
Linda Lyon started the program at Star Hill. Lyon, who is a runner herself, enjoyed the sense of accomplishment that she felt after completing a race. She wanted to share that feeling with young girls. After finding about the Girls on the Run program via Facebook, she decided to bring it to Kent County.
The team for the fall season was made up of 15 fifth-grade girls. The program was successful enough that Lyon started a spring team, which is made up of 15 third, fourth and fifth graders.
“This is a character building program full of lessons that the Girls on the Run International puts together and they’re meant to build self-confidence, self-esteem, self-worth and it culminates with a 5K,” Lyon said.
Girls are asked to identify their strengths and weaknesses and to make goals to work on their weaknesses. Each week, girls are asked to share their progress.
The 5K will take place at the Riverfront in Wilmington in May 19. Roughly 2,000 girls from Girls on the Run programs are slated to turn out for the race.
Ellie Hardy recently moved to Delaware from Colorado, where she participated in Girls on the Run. She picked back up with the program when she changed schools.
“I decided to do Girls on the Run again because I had a lot of fun doing it and got to make a lot of new friends.” she said. “I wanted to learn new lessons and make sure I remembered the lessons I learned because they can help me with hard times. I also thought it would help me in my new school because I could meet new people and it made me feel like I belonged here at Star Hill.”
Shayla Owens is a fifth grader and a team veteran. Girls on the Run helped Owens develop a can-do attitude.
“My favorite project was negative self-talking because I would say I couldn’t run fast enough, but my coaches taught me how to breathe and how to have pace. I did the 5K with my teacher,” she said.
“It was really a good experience for her,” said Renee Owens, Shayla’s mom. “I see the sel- confidence in her because now she’s a little diva.”
Page 2 of 2 - The program is funded by the girls, who pay on a sliding fee. The program costs $180 per girl. Parents decide how much they’re able to pay and Girls on the Run Delaware covers any leftover cost. The $180 pays for the materials for the lessons that the girls receive. Coaches for the program apply for the program and then go through training. Welsh and Stokes are also involved in the Girls on the Run program.
“I wish we could get it into all the schools and look into it for the middle schools,” said Kathleen Haynes, president of the Caesar Rodney Board of Education.