Special to the Reporter
On a recent Sunday, 120 girls in grades 3-5 representing all six Snoqualmie Valley elementary schools showed up at Renton Memorial Stadium with their bright smiles and energetic determination to run the Girls on the Run 5K.
The much-anticipated 5K was the culmination of the 12-week program aimed at teaching girls life skills such as empowerment, leadership and community giveback using running as a key method of instruction. Girls on the Run is supported the schools but is not funded or executed through the school district.
This is the first year that all six Snoqualmie Valley elementary schools formed teams.
“When learning about this program, I knew we had to make it happen,” says Cascade View Elementary School counselor Heather Kern. “The girls meet twice a week and talk about positive strategies surrounding struggles that girls face surrounding friendships, self-image, bullying and decision making to name a few. After the lesson, the girls warm up and incorporate the teachings into their running.”
Throughout the season, the girls work on building up their physical stamina so they can run in the 5K at the end of the season.
“As a coach, it’s so rewarding to work with girls who may never have participated in a team or in organized running,” volunteer coach Tarah Smigun said. “Watching these girls encourage one another and develop new friendships throughout the process is wonderful.”
Each team is also encouraged to execute a volunteer project throughout the season. Popular ideas focus around supporting animal welfare, kids and family programs and homelessness.