Girls on the Run of Northern Virginia (GOTR NOVA) is an after-school program that helps girls in 3rd-5th and 6th-8th grades develop the confidence and character they need to become self-assured, active adults. The 10-week program uses a research-based curriculum that integrates running with lessons that focus on self-awareness and self-care, as well as healthy social relationships. They also teach girls the empowerment that comes from having a voice in their personal well-being and how it can affect the well-being of the larger community.
“We are creating a community of girls who are empowered to be their best, by teaching them the skills they need to be strong, confident and healthy women,” said Katey Comerford, executive director. “We focus on the girls building inner strength and confidence about themselves and their decisions in life. Through Girls on the Run, we have not only helped girls increase their physical activity levels, but also have helped them create and maintain healthy behaviors and improve self-esteem and body image.”
GOTR NOVA has been working in Loudoun County for more than 16 years. During the 2015-16 school year, GOTR NOVA registered more than 500 girls in Loudoun County, almost 15 percent of whom were eligible for free or reduced lunch and received financial aid covering up to 85 percent of the program fee.
GOTR NOVA has a strategic focus to ensure all local girls have access to high-quality youth development programming. The nonprofit is an Independent Council of Girls on the Run International, which has more than 200 councils in the United States and Canada.
“By connecting to GOTR International, we can tap into a powerful movement that is making a difference in the holistic health of girls, families and communities,” Comerford explained. “We want to inspire girls to recognize their limitless potential and pursue their dreams boldly.
“I want them to have the confidence to try a new sport later on, or apply for a job they think is out of their reach, or ask someone out on a date when the time comes.”
The grant from 100WomenStrong is funding a position at GOTR NOVA and helping them to expand their efforts to support more girls.