Girls on the Run Sparks Joy at New Life Academy!

What a fantastic journey it has been! We are thrilled to share the remarkable accomplishments and growth that 16 of our 3rd and 4th grade girls have been on through their completion of the Girls on the Run (GOTR) program at New Life Academy. On Friday, June 2, 2023, the GOTR program finished with a celebratory 5K race at the MN State Fairgrounds.   

This was NLA’s first year hosting a GOTR team. Michelyn, an NLA parent and GOTR coach, wanted to start this program at NLA because she knows the school does a great job of building community and fostering character development, two essential aspects of the GOTR program. Over the past few months, our girls have embarked on a transformative adventure, discovering their inner strength, building resilience, and strengthening friendships!  

GOTR’s mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident, using a curriculum that integrates running and addresses their emotional, social, mental, and physical needs. The girls develop valuable life skills through games, role-playing, and team-building exercises, including problem-solving, goal-setting, and decision-making.

GOTR is different from your typical extracurricular activity in that we strive for growth as an athlete and as an individual. Our program is scripted, but the girls truly take the lead in discussions. I am confident that the girls will forever be impacted through the lessons and will maybe even pick up running as a hobby!

Michelyn, NLA parent and GOTR coach

Led by four volunteer NLA parent coaches, GOTR met after school twice a week from the end of March through the end of May. “I became a Girls on the Run coach because getting involved in our kids’ activities is critical. I love to run, I love my girls, and I love investing in NLA’s kids’ lives. I wanted to be a male supporter in a female-led and girl-focused activity. Even if I had a long workday and felt drained, the experience with GOTR was rejuvenating,” Jon shared on his experience with GOTR.   

Since the program’s launch at NLA, we have witnessed remarkable transformations in the girls’ confidence and self-esteem. Many girls would not have considered themselves “runners,” but they discovered their strengths throughout the season, celebrated their uniqueness, and built solid, supportive relationships with their peers. GOTR has created a safe space for them to express themselves, ask questions, and grow individually and as a group. “What a great program! I’m so grateful for the amazing coaches that taught [the girls] life-long lessons that also turned into a love for exercise and running!” Danielle Gathje, a parent of a GOTR participant, exclaimed.   

As we end an incredible GOTR season at NLA, we can’t help but feel an overwhelming sense of pride and joy for our girls. They have not only crossed the finish line of our celebratory 5K event but have also crossed personal boundaries and developed a new level of confidence. We thank the dedicated coaches, parents, and running buddies for their unwavering support. Together, we have created an environment where girls can thrive and grow!