Girl to Girl, Town to Town
We hope you will join us in reading this week’s article written by WFL Board Member and c0-founder of
WFL’s Girls Coach Girls Run Program, Dr. Abby Lipschutz.
This is the program’s third year “running” and, as usual, I am inspired and energized by the young women I work with each Thursday night.
This year is no exception. I have been helping to mentor 12 fantastic high school Juniors, who in turn mentor 8th grade girls. All of these girls live along the Shoreline ranging from Branford to Westbrook. Each Thursday we meet and discuss topics like teamwork, friendship, “drama” and conflict resolution, social media, the impact of the media on girl’s development and self-image, self-care, and ourselves. Their insights into themselves and the world around them never cease to amaze me.
What is special about this program and unique to other leadership or mentoring programs is that after this period of time with me, the girls are placed in 4 different elementary schools where they become responsible for the mentoring and leading of 10-15 4th grade girls in these same kinds of discussions and a running curriculum. The program culminates in a 5K Run in June. So, unlike other programs, the young girls are mentored and led by older girls, not by adults. And we have trained them to do that. The 4th grade girls inevitably become enamored with their high school “coaches”. How extraordinary for them to have such a special relationship with an older girl who can be a role model for them. This also goes for the 8th grade girls who get to have a friendly face to meet when they enter the halls of high school next year.
For the past two years as each girl, 4th grade, 8th grade, and high school, crosses that finish line in June, I am filled with great pride of what we have accomplished and how many girls on the Shoreline we have reached. I only hope we can continue to grow and expand. There are so few positive, non-competitive programs that promote girl’s self-respect, leadership, community, and healthy living.
If you know a 4th grade girl who might be interested, we are still enrolling for the 2012 season. Please also join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/girlscoachgirlsrun.