Girls on the Run empowers young girls

November 7, 2018

Girls on the Run Delaware is about more than just running. It’s about empowering young girls to be healthy, confident and to unleash their full potential.

Girls on the Run Delaware groups can be found at schools up and down the state, and thanks to a new partnership with the Food Bank of Delaware, eligible sites are now receiving a free after-school meal.

Every Monday and Wednesday, 12 fourth and fifth grade girls from Jennie Smith Elementary School participate in teacher/coach Caroline Szewczyk’s Girls on the Run program.

The girls meet for an hour learning important life skills and developing their appreciation for running and fitness.

The hour of programming begins with a snack/meal provided through the Food Bank of Delaware’s Child and Adult Care Food Program. The girls enjoy fruit and cheese, yogurt, carrots, apples and juice boxes from the Food Bank’s after-school meal program.

Ms. Szewczky started the afternoon’s instruction by encouraging the girls to form groups of three in order to set a group goal for the day’s run. She asked the girls, “How many laps did you run on Monday? Try to set a higher goal, at least one or two more.”

The girls filled out their group goal sheets before Coach Szewckyk started to talk about the day’s focus – cooperation.

“What do we know about cooperation?,” she asked.

Hands shot up – “trust each other” “work together and be on the same page” “compromise.”

After a brief talk about compromise, the girls left the classroom and headed outside to begin the day’s run.

To demonstration cooperation, the girls were asked to form a line. As the group began jogging in a straight line, the last girl in line was instructed to sprint to the front of the line and so on. In order for the drill to work, it was important for the girls to cooperate and remain in the straight line. Once runners got out of line, it became harder for the sprinter to get to the front.

After the activity, the girls worked in teams to complete three stations. One station, run a lap – a second station, complete a fitness activity (i.e. jumping jacks) – a third station, fill out a worksheet.

At the conclusion of the activity, the girls spent the rest of the time getting their miles in as they prepared for the November 17 Girls on the Run 5k on the Wilmington Riverfront.

To learn more about Girls on the Run Delaware, click here.

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