Girls on the Run Empowers Future WH Students


Students from local elementary schools covered by the Warren Hills Regional School District participate in a 5K run with the Girls on the Run organization Nov. 19. (Photo by Leyna Stagg)

Elementary school girls who are destined to attend Warren Hills in the near future were among 290 girls from across three counties who participated in a recent five-kilometer run for a girl-empowerment organization called Girls on the Run.

Girls on the Run, based locally in New Hope, Pa., is a club for which elementary-school girls can sign up. The non-profit organization was founded in 1997 by a female Ironman triathlete named Molly Barker.

While young girls are guided through the program toward achieving excellent social and emotional skills, they also gain physical strength and knowledge about the importance of being physically active and healthy. 

“The skills we have taught the girls helps them become a team player,” said volunteer Assistant Coach Brooke Stern.

The purpose of holding 5K runs at the end of the fall season is to give girls an immense sense of accomplishment and help encourage them to become confident and believe that they can do anything they put their minds to.

The 5Ks are designed to be fun and non-competitive. The runs are an excellent way for girls to get physically active with teammates and family members, who can sign up to run alongside the participants.

“During the 5K, we worked together as a group to encourage each other to keep going even when we wanted to give up,” said sixth grader Gianna Garcia.

Officials from Girls on the Run emphasize that the organization has helped improve many girls’ self-esteem and confidence over the years. Students and their families say that Girls on the Run is effective in promoting positive guidance, and that the volunteer coaches from the elementary schools are successful in encouraging young girls to make smart choices and lead successful lifestyles.

Girls from different elementary schools in Warren County and Hunterdon County in northwestern New Jersey, and from Bucks County, Pa., joined together in one team and participated in the Nov. 19 5K race in New Hope.

These girls had been meeting together two days a week for about two months to help prepare them for the race. During their weekly meetings, they learned important life lessons and how to keep a strong and empowering mindset.

Girls at the race said that they gained a sense of community and leadership skills.

“We learned to feel good about ourselves and we felt accomplished,” said sixth grader Sadie Stagg. “We also did a project during a meeting where we made cards for patients in children’s hospitals. I was glad I was able to cheer up the kids and help the community.”

The important skills the nine girls from Warren Hills area elementary schools learned will help them in their future years while attending Warren Hills Regional Middle School, as well as Warren Hills Regional High School.

“To understand cooperation, create core values, use creativity and to get through activities and lessons is our main goal,” Stern said. “We aim to be a team.”

The girls on the team said they have learned skills to aid them in their future first-time experiences in middle school. They already know one another and can continue to be friends throughout their school years, as well as use what they learned to make new friends and be successful in school.