Girls on the Run of the North State
By Enjoy Magazine
Born to Run
By Emily J. Miranda
Photo Courtesy of Girls on the Run of the North State
TWO SCHOOLS, four coaches and 28 girls might not sound like much when it comes to starting a local organization, but it was enough for Brook Banks. In 2010, Banks founded Girls on the Run of Butte County, which has since evolved into Girls on the Run of the North State, serving more than 40 schools in Butte, Glenn, Shasta and Tehama counties. The parent organization, Girls on the Run International, was established in 1996 by Molly Barker and has spread to more than 200 councils across the United States with the mission to inspire young girls everywhere.
“The Burney Elementary Girls on the Run and Heart and Sole teams have received tremendous support with donations from the Burney Community Funds, Soroptimist International Burney-Fall River, Burney High School S-Club, Rotary Club of Burney-Fall River, Pit River Casino and local private contributors in order to make this program available and affordable,” says Jeanine Ferguson, coach and site liaison for Burney Elementary Girls on the Run.
Under the supervision of Claire Johnson, executive director for Girls on the Run of the North State, the program strives to help young women discover their inner strength and cultivate girls’ self worth and confidence. Third- to fifth-grade girls are eligible to join a Girls on the Run team, and sixth- to eighth-grade girls can join a Heart and Sole team. Each team participates in fun, educational programs that include dynamic discussions, activities and an end-of-the-season 5K event.
Girls on the Run Coach Christina Maas became involved with the nonprofit after her daughter Brianna participated in the program. “The positivity I felt at the event made me want to be a part of it,” Maas says. “The program provides a positive environment that allows the girls to learn how to deal with life stresses as well as build up their self-esteem.
“Throughout this season I watched girls come out of their shells and grow emotionally. At the event I witnessed them reach their goals as their loved ones cheered them on. It was truly an amazing experience,” she says.
Participants develop competence, confidence, character and connections with others. “I really like the program because it makes me feel better about myself. I like that my friends and I can push each other to be better,” says Tayler, a sixth-grade Heart and Sole participant.
The program also fosters an appreciation for physical and mental health, teaching girls how to manage emotions, resolve conflict and make intentional decisions. “Heart and Sole taught me how to care for my teammates, how to deal with situations I’ve never dealt with and that I need to stretch before a 5K run,” says sixth-grader Makayla.
The nonprofit aims to make it possible for all girls to participate by offering financial assistance where needed. Ferguson says they are grateful for those who partner with them in their efforts to educate and empower young girls to be who they are created to be and help them boldly pursue their dreams. •
Girls On The Run Of The North State
(530) 636-0786 • www.gotrnorthstate.org