Community Profile: Girls on the Run

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Community Profile: Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run is a life-changing, non-profit program for girls in the 3rd through 8th grade in Clay, Duval, Flagler, Nassau and St. Johns Counties.

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Its mission is to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.  Each season the girls learn about their community and are actively involved in a community impact project.  Girls learn that one way to show gratitude is by helping others. 

This fall, approximately 1,000 girls participated in this project to collect critical supplies needed for The Ronald McDonald House.   The girls brought the supplies to the End of Season 5K on Dec. 5 at the University of North Florida where a moving truck was filled with the donations and presented to representatives of The Ronald McDonald House.  In addition to the donation of supplies, the theme of the End of Season 5K was Run Your Socks Off for the Ronald McDonald House.  The girls, their families and coaches had an opportunity to purchase striped charity socks and Girls on the Run donated all of the proceeds back to the local Ronald McDonald House.

“Girls on the Run and The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Jacksonville have complementary missions – both are concerned with the health and well-being of children in our community,” Executive Director Laura Lasko said. 

Girls on the Run sessions are held over a 10-week period in the fall and spring.  The program meets two days a week for one hour and 15 minutes after school.  All girls ages 8 to 12 and 12 to 14 are encouraged to join the program regardless of previous running experience and level of physical fitness.

The 2016 Spring Season will run from the week of Feb. 13 through April 30 with an End of Season 5K (date and location to be announced).  Online registration will open at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 7, for all counties. Deadline is Friday, Jan. 29.

Girls on the Run was established in 1996 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  The Girls on the Run curricula, the heart of the program, provides pre-adolescent girls with the necessary tools to embrace their individual strengths and successfully navigate life experiences.  The earliest version of the 24¬lesson curriculum was piloted in 1996 with the help of 13 brave girls. Twenty-six girls came the next season, then 75. In 2000, Girls on the Run International, a 501c3 organization was born.

With the help of over 55,000 volunteers, the Girls on the Run program is now serving over 168,000 girls in 225 cities across North America each year.  In 2014, Girls on the Run hosted 333 end-of-season 5k events across the United States and Canada. Girls on the Run has been featured in many media outlets including People, Runner’s World, Redbook, Women’s Day, O Magazine, Fitness Magazine, Women's Running, Self Magazine, Glamour, Shape, Marie Claire, Parenting, Running Times, CNN, MSNBC, ABC News, NBC News, NPR and ESPN.  Partners for Girls on the Run International include Athleta, LEGO, Cigna, Gamma Phi Beta, Vibram and SmartWool.

The true success of the program, however, is not told in the numbers, but rather in the words of the girls who participate. “Girls on the Run made me realize that I am the boss of my brain.” “I know that whatever I set my mind to do, I can do.” “At Girls on the Run I learned how to be comfortable in my own skin!”

Visit for more information on Girls on the Run of Northeast Florida.