Running with a Purpose: Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run is a great charity that caught my attention a few months ago. They sell tutus to raise money for their cause, and I ran my first ultra last month wearing one of their fabulous green tutus. I’m hoping to becoming more directly involved with this charity in the near future, so I asked Monika (Head Coach and Board Member) to share a bit about the charity.

GIRLS ON THE RUN

by Monika

I first got involved with Girls on the Run San Diego in September of 2009. I was poking around on active.com looking for races when I came across the Girls on the Run program. I found my way to the Girls on the Run San Diego website and saw that they were looking for volunteer coaches. I quickly submitted my contact information and was excited a few weeks later when I was contacted to attend coach’s training.

The more I learned about Girls on the Run, the more I fell in love with the organization!  Girls on the Run San Diego is one of 160 chapters across the US and Canada, and the purpose of the organization is to “educate and prepare girls for a lifetime of self-respect and healthy living”.

This is done through a 12-week experiential learning program which leads girls ages 8-12 through activities, games…. and running of course!  The 12 weeks are split up into 3 sections, which teach the girls “All About Me”, “All About My Team”, and “All About Community”.

Over the course of the program the girls run progressively longer; starting from 1 mile and working their way up to 3 miles, and at the end of the season all of the teams come together and they run a 5k.

In this program the girls learn about expressing their emotions, how to identify qualities in a friend, how to stand up to bullies, ways to communicate with someone who is upsetting them, why gossiping is bad, the importance of teamwork, and so many other crucial topics to girls their age.

As a four time Head Coach and a member of the Board of Directors, I’ve directly seen the impact this program has on the girls. I’ve seen the changes happen in front of my own eyes, and I’ve had parents confide in me about changes they’ve noticed in their daughter at home. I’ve seen girls become less shy, more confident, more comfortable with their height or body type, and several even became closer to their mothers as they continued to discuss some of the topics at home that we had introduced.

Since Girls on the Run San Diego is an almost entirely volunteer run non-profit organization, fundraising and grants are crucial to our long-term success. One way to get involved and help support GOTR is to run a race as a Girls on the Run Solemate.

Last year I ran as a Solemate for the Rock N Roll Marathon in San Diego and set my fundraising goal for $1000, but was only able to raise about half of that. Looking back, I think I had fatigued my friends and family with all of my fundraising over the years, and there was only so much that they could give.

I wanted to run as a Solemate again this year and again try to raise $1000, but knew I had to do something different. After talking to a fellow coach and friend about the issue of draining the resources of our friends and families, we both agreed that we needed to sell something to help with our fundraising efforts. This would allow people to feel like they were getting something back for their contribution, instead of feeling like they were opening their wallet yet again for charity.

After tossing around a few different ideas we decided on tutus. Yes, big fluffy tutus! With that idea, Glam Runner was born! Only a week after deciding to start making tutus for runners, our first order came in for the Girls on the Run Ragnar Relay team. Score! We started to make the 12 sparkly pink tutus immediately, and were surprised as other orders started to trickle in.

In addition to making Glam Runner tutus for the orders we received, we also started making an inventory of tutus to sell at the season end Girls on the Run San Diego 5k. We reached out to the parents of girls on our teams and also to other coaches for pre-orders, and planned to sell as many tutus as we could on race day.  As it turns out, our Glam Runner tutu table at the 5k was a wild success, and we sold out within an hour! In those few hours we raised over $500 for Solemates!

Inspired by this success, we are building up our inventory for the next event we attend, and we’re continuing to take custom orders as they come in. On the day of the race I put up a simple website showing some of our work in case there was continued demand after the race, and we were amazed to receive an online inquiry and order from someone in Canada just days later! The Internet is amazing!

Are you now jealous that you didn’t run your last race in a tutu? If you’d like to check out the Glam Runner tutus and see how much fun it could be to run your race as a Glam Runner, visit our website for color and style options. Proceeds from the sale of Glam Runner tutus go directly towards Girls on the Run San Diego and will help us grow the program by funding new sites and providing scholarships to needy girls.

If you are interested in learning more about Girls on the Run you can check out the international website. You can also search for a council in your area.

Every girl deserves to be a Girl on the Run, and I want to do my little part to make that happen!

Monika With a “K”
Monika’s Blog
Monika’s Fundraising
Monika’s Training Log

Thank you!

SALTSTICK GIVEAWAY WINNER

The winner for last week’s SaltStick capsules and dispenser giveaway is: Chris Van Dyke! Woot! Chris, send me your mailing address to vanessaruns@gmail.com so I can send out your prize!