Girls on the Run-Chicago (GOTR) has served more than 100,000 girls since 1999 at hundreds of schools in Chicagoland. Girls on the Run operates two after-school programs in Chicago: Girls on the Run for third to fifth grade girls and Heart and Sole for sixth to eighth grade girls. The organization’s mission is to inspire girls to be healthy and confident, using a research-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. This curriculum focuses on girls’ mental and physical health and includes training that builds girls’ social-emotional skills such as self-awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making.
The Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund will support GOTR Chicago’s Heart and Sole curriculum at Woodlawn Community Elementary and Andrew Carnegie Middle School. Heart and Sole pairs social and emotional learning with the power of sport to show girls that they are capable and powerful. Girls will run during each teaching session, building their stamina over the length of the program to compete in a season-end 5K. The curriculum meets new and old program runners where they are, encouraging girls to strive for their own personal goals rather than comparing themselves to their peers. The curriculum is structured to provide girls with more choice in their activities, allowing them to take on responsibilities and leadership roles in the program. GOTR will also encourage participants to journal their training journey, teaching them to plan and reflect, which are two crucial skills that translate to other parts of their daily lives. Girls on the Run hopes to create an environment that celebrates the joy of movement in community with peers and trusted coaches, motivating girls to continue engaging in physical activity beyond the program.
The Heart and Sole program has previously demonstrated many positive outcomes among program participants. Participants exhibited strong relationships with coaches and adults and gained important life skills, including responsible decision-making and self-awareness. These skills have a multiplier effect and translate to positive effects such as increased academic achievement, better mental health, decreases in risky behaviors, and bullying prevention. With support from the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund, GOTR will reach an additional 60 girls, amplifying the positive impact of the program.
To learn more about Girls on the Run-Chicago, please visit the organization’s website and social media pages: