Two hundred thirty-two girls, supported by their families and friends, converged on the Chesterfield County Fairgrounds last Saturday for a 5K celebration that culminated the 2012 Girls on the Run program. Girls on the Run is a positive youth development program that combines 5K training with an interactive curriculum to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. The curriculum addresses the physical, emotional, mental and social well-being of the girls. Cheerleaders for the event included Nutzy, Parker the Rally Pig, Rodney the Ram and School Board member David Wyman.
Girls on the Run was founded in 1996 and arrived in Chesterfield County in 2004. Starting at just one school, there is now a presence in eight middle schools and 11 elementary schools. The program is coordinated and managed through the Chesterfield County Health Department. Schools are chosen based on population need, the interest of the principal, availability of coaches and funding availability.
School staff and parents report improved self-esteem, increased physical activity, more positive relationships and better school participation as byproducts of the 12-week, 24-session program.
Funding for the