HURON — Volunteers coaches are needed for the Girls on the Run program that will begin in Huron Tuesday, Sept. 11, for girls in fourth- through fifth-grade.
Over a 10-week period, girls participate in an after-school program with lessons that encourage positive emotional, social, mental and physical development.
Physical activity is woven in to inspire an appreciation of fitness and encourage habits that lead to a healthy life.
Sessions in Huron will be held each Tuesday and Thursday from 3:20 to 4:35 p.m. at Washington School. The program ends Nov. 15. All participating schools are invited to take part in a 5K run in Sioux Falls on Sunday, Nov. 11.
“We need to have five or six coaches,” said Stacy Stahl, Girls and Youth Director at EmBe in Sioux Falls that is facilitating the program. “We have two or three right now for Huron.
“The program is run by trained volunteers,” she said. “We will come to Huron and do a training for mentors.”
EmBe — Emplowering You to Be — is a nonprofit established in Sioux Falls in 2013. All programs have a central theme of empowerment for both genders of all ages.
“We have been in Huron a couple of different times before, with programs at the Middle School and Washington and Jefferson schools,” Stahl said. “We received a grant through the Huron Youth Leadership Council; they were instrumental in helping to fund the program.”
Girls on the Run came to South Dakota through funding by the Sioux Empire United Way in 2004. Since then, the program has grown to more than 100 schools across the state.
Ann Blondheim, a fourth-grade teacher at Washington School, is coordinating the program in Huron and will work with coaches and the school principal.
She was a coach when the program was held in Huron previously.
“Back when I did it, it was a really good way for the girls to gain confidence in themselves,” Blondheim said. “It’s a very uplifting program.
“I had never run a 5K before, so it was uplifting for me as well, and enlightening,” Blondheim added. “I didn’t run the full thing — I ran/walked with one of the girls. We were both thrilled that we made it.”
Stahl said that sense of accomplishment is shared by all participants in the 5K.
“The purpose is for girls to set a goal and work to achieve that goal,” Stahl said. “What we want them to feel at the 5K is pride of accomplishment. If I can do this, I can do other things.”
Topics covered in Girls on the Run include empowerment, positive thinking, team building, goal setting, talk about gossiping and bullying, being honest, and good listening skills.
The girls also design and complete a volunteer community project. Projects have included picking up garbage, visiting nursing home residents and sending care packages overseas.
“I think this program enables the girls to be comfortable with themselves and feel success from wherever they start to wherever they finish,” Blondheim said.
Registration for Girls on the Run is currently open and can be done at www.embe.org. Click on youth programs and Girls on the Run. A minimum of eight girls is needed for the group to begin, with a maximum of 16 girls.
If anyone is interested in becoming a coach or wants more information, they can call Stahl at (605) 336-3660 or email her at [email protected]