GOTR at St. Boniface
“Who can give me an example of how to use their Star Power?” Coach Katie asked.
“Using kind words!”
“Being nice, even when you don’t want to be.”
Star Power is the power each girl has to be the best version of herself, to shine her brightest light. The Star Power lesson provides a visual tool – each point of the star represents a different component of health including physical, mental, social, emotional, and environmental – to help girls understand the areas in their life that affect their overall health and mood.
Star Power is one of the many concepts taught to girls taking part in Girls on the Run (GOTR), a 10 week program that teaches girls in 3rd—8th grade essential skills to help them navigate their world and establish a lifetime appreciation for health and fitness. The program culminates with each and every girl taking part in a celebratory 5K race.
At St. Boniface School in Northside, four coaches – all of whom teach at St. Boniface – volunteer their time to inspire and train 15 girls in 3rd and 4th grade every Fall. “It requires a lot of time, effort, and patience, but it’s more than worth it,” Coach Debbi explained. In addition to teaching the lessons, these coaches prompt dynamic discussions, play running games, and teach girls workout safety.
As a Mission Adelaide volunteer, I had the opportunity to attend the team’s weekly practices, their practice 5K, and the 5K at the end of the program in downtown Cincinnati. At practice, I witnessed Emonne and Sydney getting to know each other as they ran together, encouraging each other to keep the same pace. I watched as Rhiouna ran lap after lap like a seasoned pro, despite this being her first year with GOTR. At the practice 5K, teachers, students, and family members stood around the course to cheer the girls on. When the girls finished their nine laps around the school, more than half the team kept on running, just for fun. As Rah’Myah finished her final lap, all the girls gathered around and cheered her on as she crossed the finish line. At the final 5K race, my running buddy Beata listened to her body and knew when she had the energy to run and when she needed to take a short walking break, and despite being tired, finished fast and strong at the end of the race.
Girls on the Run is a unique program dedicated to helping all girls activate their limitless potential. In 2017, over 1,000 coaches and volunteers impacted over 2,800 girls in the Greater Cincinnati area alone. The success of Girls on the Run would not be possible without the organizations and individuals who volunteer their time and resources to the program. St. Boniface is one of many scholarship teams in the area, meaning most girls would not be able to participate if not for the financial assistance they receive from donations.
When I asked one girl why she liked being part of GOTR, she answered: “These girls aren’t just my teammates, they’re my friends.”
If interested in supporting GOTR or learning more about the program, please visit https://www.gotrcincinnati.org.