Girls on the Run: Girls Grow Up and Get Moving

Middle school is no match for girls with Heart & Sole.

January 22, 2016
girls on the run
Photograph courtesy of Girls on the Run International

Since 1996, Girls on the Run has used running to enrich and inspire the lives of over one million girls. For the past 20 years, they’ve focused on elementary-school students, working with third- to fifth-grade students to encourage lifelong fitness and self-esteem. What started as a small afterschool club in Charlotte, North Carolina, is now a nationwide movement reaching 49 states and still growing.

When its alumnae started graduating to middle school, leaders recognized the need for a secondary program made specifically for adolescent girls. So in spring 2015, they introduced Heart & Sole, a physical activity–based youth program that explores teambuilding and boundary-setting, and gives tweens a positive, structured space after school. The girls involved with the Heart & Sole pilot showed increased physical activity, decreased screen time, and a newfound ability to ask for help and to help others. With 562 sites already in action, Heart & Sole expects huge growth for 2016. 

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With this confidence in place, we are confident that these girls will create lives of purpose and make the world a better place!

Elizabeth Kunz, CEO of Girls on the Run International, says, "We know that when given relevant opportunities to learn critical life skills, adolescent girls can thrive and feel confident in being their authentic, strong selves. We have seen our Heart & Sole participants stand up for themselves and others, set and reach goals, and find joy in improving their physical and emotional health. With this confidence in place, we are confident that these girls will create lives of purpose and make the world a better place!"

Tags: running